Chicago White Sox starter Vince Velasquez was one out away from a scoreless first inning Friday against the New York Yankees.
Standing in his way: the hot-hitting Giancarlo Stanton.
The cleanup hitter continued his tear with a two-run home run, his third of the series.
Velasquez surrendered three homers in five innings as the Yankees beat the Sox 10-4 in front of 28,877 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Just starting off, I didn’t come out as hot as I expected,” Velasquez said. “The last two outings (against the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox) have been really locked in. It just seems like I was out of sync right from beginning.
“This team is very selective when it comes to finding what they like and if you don’t execute, they’re going to capitalize.”
The Yankees finished with four home runs — two-run blasts from Stanton and Josh Donaldson and solo homers by Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo — and won for the 17th time in 19 games.
Gavin Sheets hit a two-run homer for the Sox, who lost for the third time in four games.
Stanton hit two-run homers in the first and third innings Thursday, helping the Yankees to a 15-7 victory.
He wasted no time contributing again Friday. Judge drew a one-out walk and Stanton homered with two outs.
“The first inning, I didn’t have my slider, I didn’t have the command of the curveball as much as I wanted to,” Velasquez said. “With a big strike zone like that, I’m trying to force contact. It was a matter of sticking to what the task was and I fell short.”
The Sox tried to dig out the 2-0 hole, loading the bases with one out in bottom of the first.
Sheets struck out and Yankees catcher Jose Trevino threw to third to try to get Tim Anderson. The shortstop made it safely by diving, but the third baseman Donaldson tried to nudge him off the base.
The benches and bullpens briefly cleared.
Once everyone went back to their respective areas, Yankees starter Gerrit Cole struck out AJ Pollock to escape the jam without allowing a run.
“He made the pitches to get the hitters out,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “You’ve got to give him credit.”
The Yankees had four hits — two singles and two doubles — during a three-run second.
Judge’s solo homer in the fourth, his second of the series, made it 6-0. Gallo’s solo home run in the fifth gave the Yankees a 7-1 lead.
Velasquez allowed seven runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“Look at the standings, look at what they’re doing,” Velasquez said of the Yankees, who have the best record in baseball at 24-8. “They’re going to ambush and when you don’t have your best stuff it makes things a little bit harder.
“But you’re going to have you’re good days, you’re going to have your bad days. It’s just a matter of you kind of getting back on the horse and going back to work.”
La Russa appreciated “the way (Velasquez) gutted it out and gave us five (innings).”
Cole allowed three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and a walk in 6⅓ innings. He surrendered the two-run homer to Sheets in the sixth.
“He’s got great stuff,” Sheets said. “He’s a guy that you don’t know what he’s going to throw at you. It could be 100, it could be 82, it could be 88. You just have to battle, you’ve got to grind with him.
“He gets your focus at the plate, because his stuff’s very good. It’s fun to face guys like that. It’s not guys you see every day. You gear it up, and it’s a good battle.”
Donaldson’s two-run homer against reliever Matt Foster came during a three-run ninth. The Sox have allowed 38 runs (30 earned) on 48 hits in the last four games.
“When we got torched today, it was almost always we just missed our location,” La Russa said. “You would see the catcher setting up and the pitch went a different place. And that’s what a hitter is supposed to do, they’re supposed to punish it. And they did.”