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Five-run eighth vaults Yankees past White Sox

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees knew they were a few big hits from making a dent in their deficit. They also figured if they get Chris Sale out of the game, those big hits might actually happen.

The Yankees did just that with a thrilling five-run comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning as Eduardo Nunez's two-out, two-run double lifted New York to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

New York entered the eighth with little to show against Sale and a 4-1 deficit to overcome with five outs to go. The Yankees knocked out Sale on Robinson Cano's double and made it a one-run game on Alfonso Soriano's two-run single up the middle against Nate Jones (4-5).

"He was so nasty tonight," Soriano said. "So when we see the bullpen, we try to put a big inning together and that's how we did it. We put (together) a big inning and we win the game, so it's very important win tonight."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "It's a great win for us. You think about what we're fighting for. It was just one good at-bat after another."

Curtis Granderson had the tying single as a pinch hitter for Vernon Wells against left-handed reliever Donnie Veal. Veal struck out Mark Reynolds and was replaced by Matt Lindstrom. Moments later, New York's ninth comeback from a deficit of at least three runs was completed.

The winning runs came when Nunez, who said he was looking for a sinker, got that pitch in a 1-1 count and laced it down the left field line. Alex Rodriguez scored the go-ahead run and Granderson followed behind him.

"He's a power guy, so I went to the plate looking for a sinker in," Nunez said.

Granderson said, "Sale was pitching great all night long and he continued to show his dominance again against us for a second time this season. You follow up with Soriano's hit and Alex getting a hit and things slowly started to trickle and we were able to chip into the lead and finally get Nunez up there to get the big hit to put us on top."

Boone Logan (5-2) pitched a hitless eighth for the win. Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless ninth for his 40th save as the Yankees won for the 16th time in 23 games

"We won," Rivera said. "That's the most important thing."

By pulling off the comeback, the Yankees will either remain 2 ½ games behind Tampa Bay for the second wild card spot or pull within 1 1/2 games.

Before pulling off their seventh win in 61 games when trailing after seven innings, the Yankees had three hits and an unearned run on a double steal in the second against Sale. Sale entered the seventh at 102 pitches and when he struck out Brett Gardner for the first out of the eighth, he had retired 10 of the last 11 hitters.

New York's comeback sent to the White Sox to a fifth straight loss after they had won 10 of their previous 12 games.

"Once it starts going and the crowd gets into it, the team feeds off it and it has happened for years," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "It's hard to slow that down and be able to make pitches and get the stuff that you need. It's a tough place."

White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn said, "I definitely didn't see that coming tonight. That's kind of been the story. We're not able to get the big hits to open up the game. Like tonight, they racked up a whole bunch of hits in a row and took the lead."

Chicago lost its ninth game when leading at the end of seven innings after taking a 4-1 lead against Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda.

Kuroda allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings and was in line for his fourth straight loss.

He gave up an RBI single to Dunn in the first, a two-run triple to Alexei Ramirez in the fifth and a homer to Alejandro De Aza in the seventh that put Chicago on top 4-1.

NOTES: The White Sox promoted their top pitching prospect, RHP Erik Johnson, and he will make his major league debut on Wednesday. Chicago also said it would be going with a six-man rotation. LHP Jose Quintana will start Thursday in Baltimore, with LHP Hector Santiago now scheduled to start Saturday. ... The Yankees said before the game that RHP Phil Hughes was still slated to start on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox after his Monday start was limited to 1 1/3 innings because of a rain delay. After the game, the Yankees said LHP David Huff will make that start while Hughes will go to the bullpen. ... Jeter started at DH for the second time in three games, and he went 2-for-3. He passed Eddie Collins for sole possession of ninth place on the career hits list with his 3,314th hit in the third inning. Jeter added a single in the eighth. Next up is Paul Molitor (3,319).

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