Yankees 10, White Sox 3
Rodriguez hit his 15th career grand slam during a six-run ninth inning, Bobby Abreu had a tiebreaking double in the eighth and Rivera got the save Thursday night as the Yankees beat the slumping Chicago White Sox 10-3.
After Rivera handed the ball over, Torre reached up and patted his closer on the cheek with the ball. It was his way of saying thanks for helping him reach a milestone during what has been, at times, a tumultuous season.
“Two thousand. Without the opportunity here I wouldn’t have been close,” said Torre, who also managed the Cardinals, Braves and Mets. “It’s been a great ride. I’ve appreciated it. The players have been the best part of it for me. And they proved it again tonight.”
New York won three straight after losing the opener of the four-game series, the first time the Yankees have taken three in a row since sweeping the Rangers from May 1-3.
The Yankees (27-31) have won six of eight heading onto a nine-game interleague homestand against Pittsburgh, Arizona and the New York Mets. On Saturday, Roger Clemens is to make his 2007 major league debut against the Pirates.
Torre became the 10th manager in major league history to get 2,000 wins and is nine shy of tying Leo Durocher for ninth place.
“That’s awesome. It’s pretty incredible everything that Joe’s been able to do, especially with the Yankees,” Rodriguez said.
“A great moment. We’ve been through a lot since ’96 til now,” Rivera said.
Jeter, given a rare night off from the starting lineup, pinch hit leading off the eighth against Jose Contreras (4-6), advanced on a one-out wild pitch and took third when Melky Cabrera beat out an infield single to shortstop.
Lefty Matt Thornton relieved, and Abreu lined a double to right-center for a 3-1 and loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Rodriguez and a walk to Hideki Matsui. Robinson Cano followed with an RBI forceout.
“I saw him on the field coming off. I gave him a hug,” Jeter said of Torre. “I’m happy for him. He deserves it. He’s a Hall of Fame manager whenever he decides to call it quits. He’s the best.”
Scott Proctor (1-3), who pitched out of a no-out jam in the seventh, got the win and Rivera got five outs for his seventh save in nine chances. Chicago closed to 4-3 in the eighth when Tadahito Iguchi hit an RBI double off Kyle Farnsworth and scored on Paul Konerko single off Jeter’s glove at shortstop.
Rivera then struck out A.J. Pierzynski, who pounded the plate in disgust with his bat and was ejected by plate umpire Bob Davidson before flipping his helmet back at the plate.
“He was right in throwing me out for what I said,” Pierzynski said. “Just frustration the last couple of days and the way things have been going, just been building up. I just lost my cool.”
Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 22nd homer in the ninth off Ryan Bukvich, his second slam of the season. Cano added an RBI triple.
“The game came from a big league, well-played game to a fantasy camp game. That’s the way I look at it,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Those type of games drive you crazy.”
Mike Mussina, winless in his last five starts, allowed one run and four hits in six-plus innings. He allowed two hits in six innings but left with two on and no outs in the seventh.
Pierzynski hit an RBI single off Mike Myers, and Proctor relieved with two on and retired three in a row.
Contreras allowed three runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings as Chicago lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
Abreu singled to start the fourth for New York’s first hit and then narrowly beat left fielder Rob Mackowiak’s throw to third on Rodriguez’s single. Abreu then scored the Yankees’ first run on Matsui’s fielder’s choice grounder.
The feeble-hitting White Sox, who entered the game with the lowest batting average (.233) and fewest runs scored in the majors this season, had pounded Mussina for eight hits and five runs in 5 1-3 innings on the same field May 16.
Struggling White Sox RF Jermaine Dye, in a 2-for-22 slump, got the night off. … Mussina entered the game 15-16 against the White Sox. … It was a windy night in Chicago, with gusts blowing at 22 mph from right field to left at the start of the game. … The White Sox made three errors.