Avisail Garcia's three-run homer helps White Sox snap Yankees' eight-game win streak

Avisail Garcia's three-run homer helps White Sox snap Yankees' eight-game win streak

NEW YORK — Avisail Garcia had seen so many sliders from Luis Severino in their previous encounter the White Sox outfielder looked for it exclusively in a hitter's count the next time up.

When Severino acquiesced and left his 2-0 slider in the zone, Garcia pounced on it. The outfielder's three-run home run to left in the seventh inning made all the difference as the White Sox snapped the New York Yankees' winning streak at eight with a 4-1 victory in front of 30,075 at Yankee Stadium. The blast made a winner of Miguel Gonzalez, who dominated into the ninth inning and combined on a four-hitter with David Robertson. Leury Garcia also homered for the White Sox, who clinched a winning road trip. 

"I haven't seen (Garcia) like this," infielder Tyler Saladino said. "This is pretty impressive. Really impressive. Every single at-bat he's had a really good at-bat. Without talking to him or asking him what he's doing, because you let him keep going, it just seems like he's seeing the ball really well and he's on what they're throwing."

"I'm sure he's seeing the ball really well, but also locked in on what they're trying to do to him and taking advantage."

So far Garcia has made the most of what could be his last chance with the White Sox. He entered Tuesday with an American League-leading .447 average while also leading the AL in hits (21), OPS (1.128) and batting average on balls in play (.543). 

Among the tear has been several big moments, including Sunday's go-ahead homer that clinched a 10-inning victory over Minnesota. 

Garcia added another one to the highlight reel with the White Sox leading 1-0 against Severino, who to that point had been extremely sharp. Tim Anderson singled to start the seventh — only the second White Sox hit of the night. Yankees shortstop Pete Kozma then committed an error on Melky Cabrera's potential double play ball. 

After Jose Abreu popped out bunting on his own, Garcia took two fastballs and got ahead 2-0 in the count. He suspected Severino might throw next him a slider after their fifth-inning showdown. In that at-bat, Severino threw five sliders among eight pitches. 

What he found was a fat pitch high and inside and Garcia turned on it, driving it an estimated 429 feet to put the White Sox ahead by four runs.

"He throws really, really, really hard," Garcia said. "He throws everything for a strike so you've got to be careful and don't try and do too much with that guy. My second at-bat he threw me a lot of sliders. My third at-bat he threw a couple of fastballs and I was looking for what he threw me a lot.

"Was looking for the slider he threw me and I put a good swing on it."

Garcia's homer was his third, which ties him with Matt Davidson for the team lead. Garcia also leads the White Sox with 13 runs driven in.

"He's been good for a while now, but I think he's still just trying to make good contact," manager Rick Renteria said. "Now he seems to be driving the ball a little bit more, which is good to see. But he's a strong young man that if he puts the bat on the ball and he does it well, he's got a chance to drive the ball."

Gonzalez was sharp with four pitches and New York took an aggressive approach. That led to a number of quick outs, a bunch of weak contact and few Yankees hits. Gonzalez retired the first 12 hitters he faced. Starlin Castro was the first to reach against Gonzalez on an infield single but was immediately erased on a double play. Gonzalez needed only three pitches to get through the seventh and headed into the ninth having thrown 72.

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The Yankees got another infield single — their fourth off Gonzalez — as Chase Headley opened the ninth with a pinch-hit. Gonzalez, who allowed a run and four hits in 8 1/3 innings, was removed after four-pitch walk off Brett Gardner with one out. Robertson took over and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam to preserve the win for Gonzalez.

Afterward, Gonzalez was far more eager to talk about Garcia than his own success — the win was the right-hander's first on the road since July 5, 2015 at the White Sox.

"We understand last year (Garcia) was struggling a little bit," Gonzalez said. "This year he is just trying to stay inside the ball. He has power. He doesn't have to try to hit the ball out every time. He's been doing a really good job staying inside the ball and taking it the other way. Today that slider he hit was up, and his approach is definitely showing."

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito: No-hitter 'special' after early struggles

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito: No-hitter 'special' after early struggles

Lucas Giolito got the “click” he was looking for on Thursday night and it resulted in a seven-inning no-hitter for Triple-A Charlotte.

Currently the No. 2-rated White Sox prospect, Giolito has struggled so far this season at Charlotte. He’s 2-5 with a 5.44 ERA in nine starts in 46 1/3 innings.

While he’s struck out 43 hitters, Giolito has also walked 25. But it all came together for the tall right-hander on Thursday when he threw an 87-pitch no-no against the Syracuse Chiefs.

“It was special,” Giolito said on a conference call on Friday. “Just the way the year has gone, it didn't start the way I wanted it to, the numbers haven't been great. So it's great to have a no-hitter under my belt, my first professional one. Just take that and work from there. I'm just going to keep working on the things I've been working on the past few weeks and hopefully string a few good ones together.”

Rated the No. 3 overall prospect in the majors before the 2016 season, Giolito’s profile has slipped some because of performance. The top name included from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal, Giolito has struggled with command of his offspeed pitches and fastball at times. Earlier this month, Giolito described his performance as “atrocious,” while remaining optimistic that his fortunes could change just like clicking on a light switch.

Giolito said he felt confident on the mound Thursday and it translated.

“I did a lot better job of keeping the fastball down in the zone to both sides of the plate,” Giolito said. “I was able to get the ball inside to lefties pretty well, maybe got a few jam shots some pop outs here and there and then I had my two-seamer working as well. It was just a pretty solid day as far as throwing the fastball.”

Pleased as he is, Giolito is striving to be better. He pointed at his three walks as an area he’d like to improve upon. But he’s also happy with how it all worked on Thursday.

“There's always still work to do,” Giolito said. “I walked three batters and that is not something I want to be doing. The walk numbers are a little too high for my liking. There's still plenty to work on, but everything felt pretty solid last night. I felt like I repeated my delivery well, I executed more pitches. Especially when I'd fall behind in the count I'd execute quality pitches and you can get yourself out of bad situations doing that.”

The Knights made two roster moves on Friday -- Yoan Moncada was activated off the seven-day disabled list and Ryan Raburn was traded to the Washington Nationals for cash or a player to be named later.

James Shields throws again as White Sox place Dylan Covey on 10-day DL

James Shields throws again as White Sox place Dylan Covey on 10-day DL

Dylan Covey is already the sixth White Sox pitcher to be placed on the 10-day disabled list this season. The club announced Friday that Covey is headed to the DL just as one of the pitchers already there, James Shields, took another step forward in his rehab.

Shields threw his second bullpen in three days on Friday and hopes to begin a minor-league rehab assignment after he throws a three-inning, game-situation-like bullpen on Monday.

The White Sox promoted reliever Juan Minaya to take Covey’s spot on the 25-man roster. They also announced Tyler Danish would be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader and manager Rick Renteria said Covey’s scheduled start Monday would be filled internally. Reliever David Holmberg could make the start.

“I’m full bore,” Shields said. “Everything is working really well and everything feels good. Ready to rock and roll.

“It’s been pretty tough for me. I’m pretty anxious. I want to be out there and help my team win. But at the end of the day I have to stick to the process. You know the team was really doing good up until this last road trip. Now we need to pick it back up. I’m looking forward to coming back and helping the squad out.”

Covey isn’t surprised he landed on the DL.

He missed much of the 2016 season with a left oblique strain and knew exactly what he was experiencing when he felt the tug on Tuesday. But Covey remembers the early portion of last year’s injury and thinks he’s in better shape now.

“Well, my first thought was, ‘Oh, no. I did it again,’” Covey said. “It’s kind of looking like it might not be nearly as bad as it was last year. So I’m staying optimistic and taking it day by day.”

“I think if I tried to push it another pitch like I did last year, it could have maybe worsened the situation. So I’m glad I was able to hold back a little bit.”

Minaya -- who pitched in 11 games for the 2016 White Sox -- missed roughly five weeks with an abdominal tear. Though he wanted to race back (he struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings this spring), Minaya knew he had to be practical about his rehab. Once healthy, Minaya pitched well at Triple-A Charlotte, where he posted a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.

“I took a little while but we’re going through the process and we have to be patient and do everything they say to get healthy,” Minaya said. “We have to do the right thing to be healthy.”

“I feel very happy with myself because I’m working to get back here and I see the progress and I feel very happy.”

Minaya gives the White Sox nine relievers on their 13-man staff. That amount would make it much easier for the team to fill Covey’s first turn in the rotation with a bullpen game on Monday. A career starter who only began to pitch in relief this season, Holmberg could give the White Sox several innings to start. While Renteria won’t name any candidates for the series opener against the Boston Red Sox, he did suggest it would be an internal candidate.

“We’ll probably end up filling with one of our own guys,” Renteria said.