Sox rookies make it interesting in loss to Yankees

Sox rookies make it interesting in loss to Yankees
September 4, 2013, 9:00 pm
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NEW YORK -- Marcus Semien’s debut only could have been more memorable had the White Sox completed an improbable comeback Wednesday.

The rookie third baseman had a pair of hits, drove in a run and impressed one of his baseball idols all in one night. Semien’s second hit, an RBI single in a four-run eighth-inning rally, also meant extra work for Mariano Rivera.

Rivera would quell an all-rookie uprising and the New York Yankees completed a three-game sweep but the White Sox had plenty of positives from their youngsters in a 6-5 loss at Yankee Stadium.

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Semien and fellow rookies Avisail Garcia, Josh Phegley all drove in runs and Erik Johnson rebounded from some difficulty in his debut for the White Sox, who lost their sixth straight.

“A pretty good showing,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “For a first time out there it’s promising to see what (Semien) did.”

Derek Jeter thought so too.

The Yankees captain and future Hall of Famer reached third base in the seventh inning and offered Semien kudos on his first hit. Jeter eventually scored on a Alfonso Soriano sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.

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“Kind of interacted with him a couple of times,” Semien said. “That was pretty cool. … He just said ‘Congrats,’ and kind of joked and said ‘It’s that easy, huh?’ And then he just ran off. Pretty excited about that.”

Ventura was pleased his rookies forced Rivera into the game with two outs in the eighth inning.

The South Siders appeared to have no chance as C.C. Sabathia carried a five-run lead into the eighth.

[WATCH: Semien on his MLB debut

But Garcia -- who doubled in a run in the first --- closed the gap to 6-2 with an RBI single off reliever Dan Robertson. Phegley later singled in two more on a 0-2 pitch to make it a two-run game and Semien drove in another run with a single to cut the lead to 6-5.

Semien finished 2-for-4.

Rivera took over with two on and two out and struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the eight. He retired the side in the ninth in order.

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“The effort, what they bring intensity wise, it’s one thing to get a start, to get one here probably intensifies it a little bit,” Ventura said. “That’s good stuff.”

Johnson had some big moments in his major league debut and some teachable ones, too.

The right-hander gave up a game-tying solo home run to Robinson Cano in the first inning but got out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout of Ichiro Suzuki.

Johnson retired seven in a row but struggled in the fourth inning.

Alex Rodriguez singled and Johnson made a poor throw to first on Suzuki’s comebacker as the first two batters reached. Lyle Overbay then doubled in a run to make it 2-1 and Brett Gardner tripled in two more.

Cano’s RBI single made it 5-1 but Johnson found a way out and retired seven of the last nine he faced.

“I thought I could have done a little bit better job, but overall I thought it was a good one to start with,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely a good start to build off of.”

Johnson finished strong, retiring seven of the final nine hitters he faced.

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Over six innings, he allowed five runs (three earned) and seven hits with three walks.

Rookie Daniel Webb also made his major league debut and allowed a run in his inning.

“(Johnson) bowed his back some and gets out of that inning, even later coming back after the rough inning and getting us to the seventh was good stuff for a young guy who hasn’t been up here,” Ventura said. “Webb same thing. Guys getting feet wet.”

Semien tried to not look into the crowd when he stepped into the batter’s box for the first time with two outs in the second inning.

He took a first-pitch ball and then dumped a 2-2 changeup from Sabathia into right field for his first hit.

“It was a lot of fun,” Semien said. “I really was trying to stay calm the whole time. … They had a couple plays maybe we should have made. It was a tough game. We maybe should have come back and won that but maybe next time.”