Yankees' critical error sets up White Sox's winning homer

Jay Greenberg, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- After repeatedly scorching line drives into the New York Yankees' gloves for eight innings, the Chicago White Sox's luck changed in the ninth inning Thursday.
Yankees reliever Clay Rapada threw a probable double-play tapper by A.J. Pierzynski into center field, and Dayan Viciedo followed with a three-homer to left field, lifting the White Sox to a 4-3 win in the series opener at Yankee Stadium.
Viciedo hit his blast off David Robertson (0-2), who inherited the first-and-third mess.
In the bottom of the ninth, Dewayne Wise singled off White Sox closer Addison Reed, then escaped being doubled off on Eric Chavez's soft liner to left when Viciedo's throw sailed. Pinch hitter Andruw Jones took a called third strike, and Derek Jeter lined into the glove of a leaping Alex Rios at the right field wall to end it.
"I don't want to say that I thought it was out," Reed said with the slightest of smiles. "But I went from a very bad feeling to a very good one."
That was the night for both teams, a double-barreled duel of promising shots getting caught until the very end.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova avoided trouble repeatedly for 7 1/3 innings, during which he allowed just one run. Not only did the AL East leaders bring the leather, but they also got back-to-back RBI doubles in the fifth inning from Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano to take a 2-1 lead.
"They hit some hard ones we caught, too," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's baseball, you don't quit just because you're hitting hard and making outs.
"To get a break in the end, they stayed with it."
The Yankees took a 3-1 lead into the ninth after relievers Boone Logan and Cody Eppley had snuffed out another White Sox threat in the eighth. Mark Teixeira hit a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth for an insurance run.
Rios led off the ninth with more hard contact, this time the ball landing on the grass in front of Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher.
Rapada relieved and got the feeble ground ball he wanted, but he just didn't know what to do with it.
"I didn't get my feet underneath me," Rapada said. "It's really tough after executing the pitch I wanted. I really let the team down tonight.
"Have to do the fundamentals. When you don't do them, this is what happens."
Rapada received plenty of support from his team
"He makes that play 99 times out of 100," Jeter said.
"Physical error," said Girardi, meaning easier to live with than a mental one. "But it is a tough way to lose."
Robertson entered after the error, and Viciedo crushed a 1-0 fastball to put Chicago on top.
In the bottom of the ninth, Chavez's line drive carried out to the charging Viciedo, who almost went from hero to goat by sailing his throw.
"I was a little surprised," said Viciedo, meaning to see the baserunner, Wise, mindlessly at second base. "I hurried a little bit."
Nonplussed, Reed hurried a fastball past Jones for called strike three, leaving it up to Jeter, whose seventh-inning single, his 3,184th career hit, had tied Cal Ripken Jr. for 14th place on the all-time list.
"Knew he would be going to right field," Ventura said of Jeter.
NOTES: Yankees catcher Russell Martin, who played Wednesday after missing three games due to back stiffness, was out of the starting lineup again Thursday night. ... White Sox right-hander Dylan Axelrod made the third start of his career, and he tried not to notice that it was at Yankee Stadium. "I tried not to build it up so it wouldn't be too big for me to handle," he said. He apparently succeeded, as he surrendered just two runs in seven innings. ... The White Sox ended a six-game losing streak against the Yankees, while the Yankees had a five-game winning streak end. ... Viciedo's last three homers have either tied the game or given Chicago the lead. ... The White Sox promoted left-handed reliever Leyson Septimo, 26, from Class AAA Charlotte, where he was 2-1 with one save and a 1.48 ERA in 21 games. Left-handed reliever Will Ohman, 0-2 with a 6.41 ERA in 32 appearances for Chicago this season, was designated for assignment. ... At one point after losing his rotation spot, Yankees right-hander Freddy Garcia wasn't used in relief for 20 days. However, the 2 1/3 perfect innings Garcia threw against the Indians on Wednesday night made the Yankees, who are without CC Sabathia (likely two weeks) and Andy Pettitte (probably two months) feel better about putting Garcia back in the rotation Monday night. "Something happened," Garcia said. "My fastball is better, my split is better, my changeup is better. I didn't have my speed (to begin the season). But right now I got my speed back." ... Let the record show Yankees manager Joe Girardi recited the standard mantra of the injury-compromised -- "Nobody's going to feel sorry for us" -- but actually, there might be a sympathy pang from his counterpart over the next four days. Currently six of the White Sox's 12 pitchers are rookies. Ventura said, "This is who we have, we have to make it happen with guys who are going through it for the first time." ... Rios came into Thursday night's game with nine homers and 25 RBI in his last 32 games. "Sometimes (players) get to the point of thinking about the consequences of not doing well," Ventura said. "He is just playing, feels like he is going to contribute every day."

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