It had been a full two starts of Gavin Floyd not allowing any home runs, not being punished on poorly located fastballs, or conjuring a general sense of dread and ire from the fan base.
Sunday that returned, and the Yankees offense and ballpark were in no mood to cover that up. A double play and a strikeout staved off disaster after Gavin loaded the bases with no one out in the 1st, but the next two innings featured home runs from Eric Chavez and Robinson Cano. And since Floyd had nothing approaching good control all day, there was a baserunner on each time.
If anything, it was remarkable things never got worse. Floyd only allowed four runs despite running up a 122 pitch count, curiously being allowed to come out for the 6th, walking a season-high five, and being at odds with A.J. Pierzynski all day.
Conversely, an opening volley was all the Sox offense could muster. They were leading 1-0 after two batters, and made it a two-run advantage with a two-out Alex Rios single.
But after A.J. Pierzynski stranded runners in scoring position in the 3rd, the next nine hitters went down in order. Sox hitters were unable to take advantage of Phil Hughes' home run problems because all their deep flies went to left-center, where Yankee Stadium actually plays deliriously large.
Yankees 4, White Sox 2
Gavin Floyd - 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 122 pitches - Who knows anymore?
Alex Rios - 2 for 4, 2B, RBI - Perhaps he really is mad about being left off the All-Star team
Dayan Viciedo - 0 for 3, 3 K, BB - Emblematic, and problematic. Don't submit any of your pets or plants to the drastic temperature changes Viciedo goes through.
Phil Hughes - 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 8 K, 106 pitches - Dominated with looping curves and low-90's heat.
Leyson Septimo - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K - At least the mop-up rookie reliever looked great.
Gavin Floyd made a habit of falling behind to the best power-hitters in the game repeatedly, and did it once more to Robinson Cano in the 3rd. After Cano swung through a helmet-high fastball to push the count full, Gavin threw a cutter low and on the inner-half, which was...not the best location.
The rocket off of the All-Star starter's bat hit the back wall of the first pocket of seats in right, but also provided all the extra offense that would be needed on the day.
Things Would Be Different If...
In the 3rd inning, Alex Rios hit a ball as hard as anyone did all day, with a runner on, no less. But because Rios is a right-handed hitter, his pull power goes toward the cavernous right-center field alley, and glanced off the very top of the wall for a double that could not even score the plodding Paul Konerko.
Instead of giving the White Sox the two more runs they spent the rest of the game chasing, it was a two-out double that went for naught when Pierzynski popped out to end the inning afterward.
Suffice it to say, it'll be nice to get away from this ballpark.
For the second-straight year, a thrilling beginning to a four-game set in New York has skidded to a halt over the weekend. All the ground gained on Detroit and Cleveland has been given back, 20 inches of wall padding in left separated the Sox from staying in the game, and Gavin Floyd looks to be as deep in the woods as ever.
Team Record: 42-37, 1.5 games up