NEW YORK — The good that emerged from Wednesday night's 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees didn't provide the White Sox with much immediate help.
But the fact that Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu both put together a series of good at-bats, including the latter's most complete offensive game of the season, could be critical for the White Sox in the days ahead. Abreu doubled twice and produced his first three-hit game of the season and Anderson also doubled and lined out to deep center in the losing effort.
Their collective efforts weren't enough, however, to keep up with the Yankees, who blasted three home runs off Rule 5 selection Dylan Covey in the series finale. Covey allowed eight earned runs and 10 hits in five innings.
"(Abreu) had a completely different outlook today for whatever reason and it just happens that way," manager Rick Renteria said. "Some good at-bats. So did Timmy. We had a few good at-bats in there, a couple situations we didn't capitalize on. It was one of those games that got away from us."
The White Sox offense has been very hit and miss early this season. They've provided runs by the barrel full in a few games and minimal production in others.
One reason for those struggles is the early slumps of Anderson and Abreu, two of their more prominent performers. Anderson entered Wednesday's finale with a .389 OPS and Abreu was at just .380. In short, neither has provided much for an offense that entered Wednesday ranked 13th among 15 American League teams with 48 runs scored.
But both looked sharp against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.
Abreu — who Tuesday said he was merely looking to make solid contact once again — started early with a double down the left-field line past a diving Chase Headley.
"Right now we're just working on trying to gain that confidence at the plate, because right now I don't feel it," Abreu said through an interpreter on Tuesday. "That's a process you have to pass through to get it again. That's why we're working right now.
"Right now, I'm not making any contact with the ball."
The slugger made plenty on Wednesday night.
Down 4-0 in the fourth, Abreu followed a leadoff double by Anderson with a booming one-out double of his own to produce the only White Sox RBI. The ball exited Abreu's bat at 109.3 mph, according to MLB.com.
"It was a while from the last time I heard that sound when I hit the ball," Abreu said Wednesday. "Besides the loss, I think it was a good game for me. I hit the ball the way I used to do it and that's a step forward."
Abreu also hit an outside pitch in the sixth inning for a hard single into right field. Abreu finished the contest 3-for-4, his fourth multi-hit game of the season but first since Thursday at Cleveland. He also made an outstanding defensive play to end the second inning with a diving grab to start an unassisted double play.
Anderson has shown little signs throughout the Yankees series he's about to break out. His fourth-inning double off Tanaka would have gone for a solo home run in most ballparks. But he settled for a double high off the left-field fence despite a 102.8-mph exit velocity.
Two innings later, Anderson lined another fastball to dead center only to have Jacoby Ellsbury track it down near the fence. The ball exited Anderson's bat at 102.1 mph, an outcome that normally produces a hit 79 percent of the time, according to Baseball Savant. Anderson finished 1-for-4 but still raised his batting average on balls in play to .200, which is well short of the .375 he hit in 2016 and what he routinely produced in the minor leagues. Those factors would suggest Anderson is due for a market correction at the plate, which would be extremely beneficial to the 7-7 White Sox.
But it didn't amount to much on Wednesday.
Covey allowed a double and a two-run Chase Headley homer in the first, and yielded two more runs on two hits in the second inning. Starlin Castro tattooed a 3-0 fastball from Covey for a three-run homer in the fifth inning before Aaron Judge crushed a hanging curve 448 feet for a solo shot and an 8-1 lead.
"Obviously today didn't go the way I wanted it to go," Covey said. "But you kind of have to take it like it is and learn from the mistakes. Come back (Friday) and put work in to get better. Just get better with all my pitches."