Carlos Beltran hit his 400th career home run, and Chase Headley came off the bench to deliver a go-ahead double in the seventh inning, propelling the Yankees to a 7-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday and their third consecutive series win.
Headley’s play on Sunday at Yankee Stadium helped bail out starter Masahiro Tanaka, who labored through five innings. Since throwing eight shutout innings at Baltimore on May 5, Tanaka has surrendered 10 earned runs in two starts, equaling the number he allowed in his first six outings. He had been one of four pitchers in baseball to have allowed two runs or fewer in each of his first six starts.
The White Sox tagged Tanaka for eight hits, including a solo home run by Adam Eaton and three hits by Avisail Garcia. Tanaka, whose fastball velocity hovered around 90 miles per hour, walked three and struck out seven.
The Yankees welcomed back center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who had missed seven games with a hip strain. He immediately got the offense rolling with an infield single to lead off the first.
The Yankees were aggressive at the plate against White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez. The first three batters saw just four pitches before the Yankees had a 1-0 lead, with Ellsbury scoring on a sacrifice fly by Beltran.
The Yankees had opportunities to add runs, putting at least one runner in scoring position in four of the first five innings, but they missed on some big chances. They loaded the bases against Gonzalez with one out in the third, but Brian McCann, who finished 2 for 4 with a home run, popped out in foul territory. A single by the next hitter, Starlin Castro, and a walk by Dustin Ackley brought two runs around, but Didi Gregorius grounded out to end the inning.
So despite lasting just four and two-thirds innings and walking five batters, Gonzalez left the game with his team leading, 4-3.
That lead did not last, however. In the sixth, Beltran swatted a 2-2 fastball to left to drive home two runs, putting the Yankees back ahead. He became just the fourth switch-hitter with 400 career home runs, joining Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray and Chipper Jones.
With the Yankees leading by a run, Manager Joe Girardi should have felt reasonably confident: His bullpen had not allowed a run in the last 15 ⅔ innings and was trying to throw at least three scoreless innings for a fourth consecutive game. But the first two batters reached base against Dellin Betances, and Melky Cabrera zipped a line-drive double down the left-field line, scoring Jose Abreu to tie the score at 5-5.
Betances recovered to get three straight outs, including two strikeouts, and stranded the potential go-ahead run at third base.
Then, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Headley pinch-hit for Ronald Torreyes and laced a first-pitch double into the gap in right-center field, scoring Gregorius from first.
Provided another slim lead, the Yankees’ bullpen held firm this time. Andrew Miller worked a perfect eighth, and Aroldis Chapman earned his third save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
C. C. Sabathia threw 45 pitches in a simulated game Sunday and reported no soreness in his injured groin. Manager Joe Girardi said that barring a setback, Sabathia would be scheduled to start Friday at Oakland.