NEW YORK — Ravaged by injuries, the New York Yankees hardly resemble the 100-win team that set a major league record for homers last year.
And even though it's very early in the season, they are frittering away games during a favourable portion of their schedule.
Tim Anderson hit his first career grand slam and Carlos Rodón pitched the Chicago White Sox to a 5-2 victory over the scuffling Yankees on Sunday. New York is 3-6 at home against the Orioles, Tigers and White Sox — all projected also-rans that lost at least 98 games last year.
"It's frustrating to lose two out of three to a team that we should probably beat," first baseman Luke Voit said. "I think a lot of us just need to get out of our heads and go back to playing Yankee baseball the right way."
On deck for New York, a visit from the World Series champion Boston Red Sox in the first meeting this season between the longtime rivals. Both are off to surprisingly slow starts.
"Anytime a team comes into Yankee Stadium, they're going to give you their A game. We've noticed that," right fielder Aaron Judge said. "We've just got to make sure we match that every single game. People are coming after us, so we've got to keep the intensity up and just play our game."
José Abreu nearly had a grand slam as well — to almost the same spot in the ballpark — but settled for a sacrifice fly when Judge made a jumping catch in front of the wall. Held to one hit Saturday in a 4-0 loss, Chicago chased Masahiro Tanaka with nobody out in the fifth and won for only the second time in eight games.
Yoan Moncada had three hits and a walk for the White Sox, who stole five bases in the last five innings — several of them uncontested. Chicago won two of three to take consecutive series in the Bronx for the first time since 2002-03. Before last August, the White Sox hadn't captured a series at Yankee Stadium since 2005.
With the Yankees (6-9) missing five dangerous regulars from their lineup, Judge did all he could in this one. He scored on Voit's double, lined an RBI single and threw out Moncada trying for a two-base hit. New York handed Tanaka (1-1) an early 2-0 lead, but he unraveled in the fourth and fifth as the Yankees lost their fifth in six games.
Tanaka had trouble with his splitter.
"It wasn't coming out of my hand right, and not just today," he said through a translator. "Definitely need to make some adjustments so it's an effective pitch."
Rodón (2-2) allowed three hits in six innings and struck out five , improving to 3-0 in three starts at Yankee Stadium. He retired his final 11 batters after a visit from pitching coach Don Cooper.
Four relievers finished a four-hitter, with Alex Colomé getting three quick outs for his third save.
"I found a groove after the third," Rodón said. "This is a playoff club, the Yankees are. I think this is a good series win for us. Hopefully we can build off it and get some momentum going."
Tanaka faced only 10 batters in the first three innings, striking out six, but then all of a sudden he fell apart. Eight of his next 10 hitters reached safely, and the right-hander was done.
"We made him make pitches and we didn't let him off the hook," Anderson said. "We were able to draw some walks and we were able to make it hurt."
Anderson, who began the day leading the majors with a .444 batting average, drove a fourth-inning splitter the opposite way. He urged it with a waving hand into the front row of seats just beyond the auxiliary scoreboard in right-centre for his third homer and Chicago's first slam of the season.
"It was my first one, so it definitely felt good," Anderson said.
Abreu added his sacrifice fly after Tanaka exited with the bases loaded in the fifth. Tanaka had permitted one earned run in each of his first three starts.
Now that Baltimore's Chris Davis snapped his record 0-for-54 skid Saturday, White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka has the longest current hitless streak for an active major league position player, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Palka went 0 for 3 on Sunday, leaving him 0 for 28 this season and 0 for 30 dating to last year. Mikie Mahtook, sent to the minors over the weekend, is hitless in his last 31 at-bats for Detroit. Palka led the White Sox with 27 homers last season, tied for the most among big league rookies.
Yankees: Aaron Hicks (lower back strain) still has no timetable for a return, though manager Aaron Boone said the centre fielder is doing really well. "It's been a couple of weeks where we feel like he's completely past the injury. The ramp up has just been a little slow because it obviously took some time," Boone said. "Hopefully batting practice starts at some point this week."
White Sox: Looking for his 150th career win, RHP Ervin Santana (0-1) pitches against one of his former teams Monday night when Chicago hosts Kansas City. The two-time All-Star was tagged for seven runs and seven hits over 3 2/3 innings by Tampa Bay in his White Sox debut last Tuesday.
Yankees: Following a day off, LHP James Paxton (1-2, 6.00) gets his first taste of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry Tuesday night when he faces struggling Boston ace Chris Sale (0-3, 9.00) in the opener of a two-game set. Paxton told reporters he thought he was tipping pitches in Houston last Wednesday during an 8-6 loss.
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