Things change quickly and the New York Yankees are benefiting from that, sweeping their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox with a 7-4 win, capped off by a three-run walk-off home run by Brian McCann, as the team that looked to be spiraling into disappointment has finally found some offensive consistency to ride on.
The Yankees have now won four consecutive games, beginning with a forgettable 3-0 win over the Astros before the weekend began. They’ve scored 16 runs in three games against the White Sox after struggling to reach home plate all through August, including two wins with a clinching hit. This time it was McCann hitting his 15th home run of the season, getting a fastball just the way he wanted it with a 3-2 count from Jake Petricka.
Two home runs from Alexei Ramirez and Conor Gillaspie put the White Sox up 3-0 in the sixth inning, but Chris Sale lost control of his pitches and let the lead slip away from his fingers with a series of bad pitches. He gave up a double to Mark Teixeira with the Yankees’ first run of the afternoon, followed by loading the bases and hitting Zelous Wheeler. Ichiro Suzuki turned things upside down with a deep single that scored two runners and took Sale out of the game.
It was the first time Sale, an All-Star pitcher with a 2.03 ERA this season, gave up an RBI to a left handed hitter in over a year – the last one coming in 2013 against Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins. Sale wasn’t the only pitcher who blew it on the day – David Robertson had a chance to close the game for the Yankees in the ninth, but he blew a save for the third time this season and a first after 22 consecutive successful conversions, giving Avisail Garcia an opportunity to hit a home run.
Then came McCan, who hasn’t been the most fit of players recently. The Catcher came on to pinch hit for Francisco Cervelli and got himself a perfect cameo, making his single hit and plate appearance of the game a bingo, bullseye, three-run homer and most importantly, a walk off hit that won the game for the Yankees, not having a lot of room to make mistakes anymore after going 2-7 before their recent winning streak.
Now? The Yankees are 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners who are involved in the red hot chase inside the AL West. In their own division, the Yankees are six games behind the Orioles (it was nine not too long ago) and a bit ahead of the Blue Jays. With 34 games to go, their margin for error is minimal, and it’s going to take this kind of big hitting to carry them into the postseason.