Yankees 5, White Sox 1
CHICAGO (AP)—Suddenly, the New York Yankees don’t seem so vulnerable.
Their offense is coming around. Their pitching is delivering, too. And on Wednesday, Chien-Ming Wang gave them something they hadn’t had since last summer: a nine-inning complete game.
“We’re starting to stack some blocks, and that’s what we need to do,” manager Joe Torre said. “It’s a long season, and we certainly need to climb back to .500. We’ll see how good we are by that point.”
Wang (5-4) struck out four and walked one, throwing 104 pitches in New York’s first nine-inning complete game since he beat Tampa Bay with a two-hit shutout last July 28. It was his fourth win in five starts and the third complete game of his career.
“That’s as good a game as he’s thrown as a Yankee and it came at a good time,” Alex Rodriguez said.
New York (26-31) has won five of seven following its terrible start, and the Yankees got some good news before the game when Roger Clemens said he was on track to make his season debut against Pittsburgh on Saturday in New York.
Rodriguez, his average back up to .303, hit a two-run single off the left-field wall in a four-run third inning. Abreu, who has 10 hits in his last 21 at-bats, added an opposite-field, solo homer in the eighth.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” Johnny Damon said. “It’s fun when things start going your way.”
The White Sox are waiting for that to happen. Chicago (26-29) has lost nine of 11 and is fading fast in the AL Central. Although the losing is wearing on manager Ozzie Guillen, he vowed not to sulk.
“I’m going to start enjoying this game,” he said. “I have to. I’m only 43 years old. Whether I get fired or I stay, I’m going to regret that I didn’t enjoy this game. I have to start enjoying this game and be my way. It’s not easy when you have fun with the players and you lose, people think you don’t care. I have to change my style. I have to go out there and have some fun.”
Former Yankee Javier Vazquez (3-4) allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.
Earlier in the day, baseball commissioner Bud Selig asked Jason Giambi to speak with steroids investigator George Mitchell within two weeks but deferred a decision on whether to discipline Giambi for recent remarks that many took as an admission of steroids use.
Then the Yankees went out and took a 4-0 lead in the third against the White Sox.
“They make you throw a lot of pitches,” Vazquez said. “They don’t swing at borderline pitches. Most of the time pitchers don’t get the call, either. They’re just a good hitting team and they hit some good pitches.”
Miguel Cairo led off the third with a single to right and scored on Johnny Damon’s double. A single by Derek Jeter and walk to Abreu loaded the bases for Rodriguez, who drove a 1-0 pitch off the wall in left.
Rodriguez was 2-for-4, giving him 10 hits in his last 24 at-bats, and he has seven RBIs in the past four games. It’s no coincidence that his latest surge comes with Abreu heating up.
“I think Bobby’s a great No. 3 hitter, and it makes it a lot easier for me,” said Rodriguez, batting cleanup. “I’m seeing so many pitches.”
Damon and Jeter scored on that single off the wall, but Rodriguez was called out at second even though he appeared to beat Juan Uribe’s relay throw.
Posada led off the sixth with a double and, with Matsui batting, he took several steps toward third after a pitch bounced a few feet from A.J. Pierzynski. Posada froze as the catcher retrieved the ball and did not move until Pierzynski was near him, then got tagged out by third baseman Josh Fields.
“We made some mistakes, like everyone else, but that’s the course of the game,” Abreu said. “We won even with the mistakes on the bases.”
Andy Pettitte, bothered by his back at Boston last weekend, is on track to start against Pittsburgh on Friday. … The White Sox placed Joe Crede on the 15-day DL because of lower back inflammation Wednesday and the third baseman could be headed for surgery. … Fields started for Crede after being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. … OF Scott Podsednik (groin) was 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run in his first rehab game for Triple-A Charlotte at Louisville.