NEW YORK (AP)—Instead of swinging for the fences, the New York Yankees put down a string of splendid bunts and beat Ozzie Guillen’s White Sox at their own game of small ball.
Andy Phillips homered and knocked in four runs—all after New York chased struggling lefty Mark Buehrle. Four effective bunts helped the injury-depleted Bronx Bombers set up a pair of big innings early in the game.
“They weren’t all bunt signs. They took it upon themselves to do some things they wanted to do,” manager Joe Torre said. “The more we do little things that work for us, the less you have to convince them that those are the right things to do.”
Even little Bubba Crosby got in on it, hitting his first home run since a game-winning shot last Sept. 19 against Baltimore.
“It was a pretty good day for us,” Jeter said. “We’ve been playing pretty good for a few weeks.”
New York, which took the series opener 6-5 Friday night, has won six of seven since a 19-1 drubbing in Cleveland on July 4. The Yankees are 6-0-1 in their past seven series, moving a season-high 16 games above .500.
The World Series champion White Sox have dropped four of five to the Red Sox and Yankees during a stretch that spanned the All-Star break.
“They beat us yesterday. We beat ourselves today,” Guillen said. “Buehrle’s out there pitching, and we’re not helping. It’s all about pitching and defense. Our defense let him down.”
Jim Thome sent his 31st homer rocketing into the upper deck, trimming Chicago’s deficit to 8-3 in the fifth. White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko also left in the fifth with a stomach virus, but hopes to play Sunday.
Buehrle (9-7) lasted only three-plus innings, giving up eight runs—seven earned—and eight hits. Normally a control artist, he also walked two and hit a batter with a pitch.
In three starts since July 2, the day he made his third AL All-Star team, Buehrle is 0-3 with a 13.81 ERA. He has allowed 22 earned runs and 30 hits in 14 1-3 innings.
“If I miss my spot, they hit it. If I hit my spot, they hit it,” Buehrle said. “I have to figure something out.”
Pitching on nine days’ rest, Mussina yielded three runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one, delighting a sellout crowd of 55,019.
“I felt pretty strong,” Mussina said. “When you have 10 days off, you’re not really sure how your body is going to respond, full speed.”
Damon started the third with a beautiful bunt single and scored on Alex Rodriguez’s base hit. Williams punched a two-run double to right-center off Buehrle with two outs, making it 4-0.
“Every pitch is up,” Guillen said. “The way I see it, the cutter is not cutting, the changeup is not changing and the fastball is not fast.”
The Yankees broke it open with four more in the fourth, set up by Chicago’s poor defense.
Nobody covered first base on Miguel Cairo’s bunt single, leaving runners at first and second. Damon followed with a hard, short-hop bunt to Konerko. He wheeled and threw wide to third, where the ball glanced off the glove of fill-in third baseman Alex Cintron, who was charged with an error that loaded the bases.
Jeter followed with a two-run double, and Giambi’s two-run single on the next pitch finished Buehrle.
“I’ll sit for 25 minutes if we’re going to keep scoring runs,” Mussina said.
Tadahito Iguchi hit an RBI single in the fifth for Chicago, and Thome’s two-run homer landed about eight rows deep in the right-field upper deck.
Williams’ RBI double in the sixth off Cliff Politte ricocheted off first base, and Phillips added a two-run double. Crosby, who replaced Damon (leg cramps) in center field, connected off Politte in the seventh to make it 12-3.
Phillips homered in the eighth, a two-run shot against Bobby Jenks.
“This is the pennant chase right now. They’re a good test for us,” Torre said.
Politte was designated for assignment after the game. The White Sox plan to recall RHP Sean Tracey from Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday. … Chicago 3B Joe Crede sat out with a bruised right calf after he was hit by a pitch from Randy Johnson on Friday night. Crede is day to day. … Jeter is 9-for-19 (.474) with three doubles against Buehrle.