Surely, at some point during the approximately 735 games the Red Sox played against the Yankees during Kevin Youkilis' tenure in Boston, something was done to inspire his undying hatred toward the pinstripes. The Yankees have a naturally infuriating way about them. But it probably came during some turgid, four-hour long marathon between the two clubs, and was fretfully dull to watch. Or maybe he was actually mad about getting drilled in the back last night.
Either way, at least he left his revenge till this comfy little three month period where he's playing the White Sox almost for free. Tuesday night, that vengeance came in the form of a pop fly to right field, that carried...
...and turned Nick Swisher around...
...and turned Swisher around one more time before dropping into the Yankees' bullpen, prompting some satisfied home-run trot yelling from the man himself, and a curtain call.
To make the timing even better, it came with the bases loaded in the 5th inning, and shattered a 2-2 tie that would never be made whole again.
It capped off another mid-game about-face in this critical series. Francisco Liriano did his best 'Gavin Floyd in trouble' impression in the 1st inning. He allowed a leadoff home run to Derek Jeter, walked two, racked up over 30 pitches, and felt lucky to escape with only two runs scored. Being his mercurial self, Liriano turned on a dime after a 1st inning mound visit, posted a 7 K/1 BB ratio and went scoreless from there on out, and wound up with a quality start.
Paul Konerko's third home run in five games since being back tied the game in the 4th, and Alex Rios tripling and scoring on a sac fly provided the first White Sox run of the night. Both he and A.J. Pierzynski benefitted from casual Yeankee right field relays for three-baggers.
Brett Myers finished his 36th game of the year, which is probably not a good thing, since 45 games activates his option.
White Sox 7, Yankees 3
Francisco Liriano - 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, HR, 108 pitches - He's got a fine slider, folks are bound to swing at it if he can throw other pitches for strikes.
DeWayne Wise - 4 for 5, R - I don't know how he's doing it, nor do I care.
Kevin Youkilis - 1 for 4, HR, 4 RBI, BB - He really likes hitting in this stadium - 9 HR in 74 ABs
Paul Konerko - 2 for 4, HR, K - His first multi-hit game since coming back, also included an ugly strikeout
Gordon Beckham - 2 for 3, RBI, R, BB - A fine effort, worthy of praise.
Youkilis' grand slam wouldn't have been possible without the typically dubious trio of Ramirez, Beckham, and Wise all reaching base consecutively. Ramirez hustled hard for a double against a lackadaisical Yankee outfield for a double, Beckham drew a full count walk, and DeWayne Wise ripped a get-me-over fastball to right on a 2-0 count so hard that Ramirez couldn't score from 2nd.
The Youkilis home run was arguably the most foreseeable element of the rally.
Things Would Be Different If...
...not for in-game adjustments from Liriano. After throwing 31 pitches in the 1st--about half of them balls--Francisco didn't regain much control, but enough to earn more interest in his slider. His signature pitch got 13 swings and misses on the night because he was able to get it in the general vicinity just a bit more.
Don't look now, but the White Sox are an effective team at U.S. Cellular. They're 15-5 at home since the beginning of July. Any existential hangover from the Royals series has been blasted away, as playing to the competition works just fine when the other team is the Yankees.
DeWayne Wise looking like he can hold the fort for a week or two is certainly welcome.
Team Record: 67-55, 2 games up