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Vince Velasquez vs. Gerrit Cole seemed like a mismatch on paper, and it turned out that way in practice.
The Yankees homered four times for the second straight night, and Velasquz served up three of them. Giancarlo Stanton hit another two-run shot in the first inning to set the tone. Velasquez pitched five innings and was scored upon in four of them.
Yet it could’ve been worse, because at least Velasquez went five. He and the White Sox trailed 5-0 after two thanks to RBI doubles by Aaron Hicks and Josh Donaldson around a DJ LeMahieu RBI groundout, and Velasquez had thrown 59 pitches through two. With Tanner Banks working hard the night before and Reynaldo López’s last outing interrupted by a back issue, the White Sox didn’t have an ideal long man ready.
Velasquez wasn’t much better at keeping the Yankees off the board, but at least he was efficient. He tossed three more innings on a more reasonable 40 pitches, with Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo taking him deep for solo shots in the fourth and fifth innings.
The White Sox had a chance of making it a slugfest early against Cole, loading the bases with one out after a Tim Anderson leadoff double, a José Abreu walk and an error by Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a Luis Robert roller, but Cole ramped up the heat and struck out Gavin Sheets and AJ Pollock to end the threat.
(There was the threat of a shoving fight between Anderson and Josh Donaldson, as Donaldson came down hard on Anderson after receiving the throw from the catcher on an attempt to pick him off, shoving Anderson off the bag. Anderson came up shoving Donaldson, with third base umpire Chris Guccione correctly ruling that Donaldson’s push was illegal, then defusing tensions as players ambled toward that corner.)
The Sox did more damage against Cole than last year’s matchup, when Cole threw seven scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory. He balked home a run in the fourth, and then Sheets turned on a hanging changeup for a two-run shot in the sixth that made it a 7-3 game.
The White Sox bullpen tried to keep the Yankees at bay, and were successful through the eighth thanks to two scoreless from Bennett Sousa and one from López. Then came Matt Foster, who gave up five hits over the course of 24 pitches for a three-run ninth, including the fourth Yankee homer by Donaldson. Still, at least it only required three relievers, two of whom needed the work.
The Sox tepidly answered that run via a single to the outfield, a single to the infield, and a Reese McGuire single in between. The rally got Aroldis Chapman warming, but he just might’ve needed the work.
*Anderson made a sensational play to take a base hit away from Gleyber Torres, but then he waited back on a Kiner-Falefa grounder before rushing a throw high and wide. Somehow it wasn’t ruled his 10th error of the year.
*Likewise, Leury García bobbled the carom off the side wall on Aaron Hicks’ RBI hit, giving up an extra 90 feet, but the scorer called it a double. At least the White Sox can say they won the error column, 2-0.
*Pollock’s progress stalled by going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, stranding a team-high five.