NEW YORK – Even though they may be disappointed at failing to finish off a series win at Yankee Stadium, Paul Konerko and the White Sox headed home feeling positive about their standing in the American League.
Robinson Cano hit an early tiebreaking two-run homer after wasting a chance with the bases loaded his first time up against Gavin Floyd, and the New York Yankees again rode the long ball to a 4-2 win Sunday over the Sox for a series split between division leaders.
“This was a long, hot week, a lot of energy spent here,” Konerko said. “It was a good week.”
Indeed it was for the surprising AL Central leaders. The Sox took the first two games of the series against New York before wilting in the oppressive humidity. But they finished a seven-game road trip 4-3 and have a 1˝-game lead in the division.
The Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning but Eric Chavez connected for a two-run drive in the second, helping New York raise its major league-leading total to 124 home runs. The power surge helped make Phil Hughes a winner on the Yankees’ 66th Old-Timers’ Day.
Wiping his brow with his sleeve and tugging at his uniform after nearly every pitch in the 95-degree heat, Floyd (6-8) pitched from behind in the count for much of his 5 1-3 innings.
“I don’t care how much conditioning you do, it’s tough when you have long innings and you’re battling out there,” said Floyd, who threw a season-high 122 pitches. “It’s laboring to make pitches, trying to keep the team in the game, trying to grind through it.”
He was in trouble the moment his toe touched the rubber, giving up consecutive singles and a walk to start. But Cano grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and Nick Swisher struck out to extend Floyd’s scoreless streak to 14 1-3 innings.
That would end in the second. Raul Ibanez led off with a single and Chavez connected for his sixth homer.
“Even though they got him a couple of times, he still pitched well, Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He battled, got out of some tough spots, even in the first. We just couldn’t mount anything after that first inning.”
Coming off eight scoreless innings in his previous start, Hughes (9-6) gave up two runs in the first.
He then settled in nicely to limit the hard-hitting Sox to just three more hits over his final seven innings.
Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a sharp double and scored on Kevin Youkilis’ single, standing up and eluding the reach of catcher Russell Martin, who tried to make a swipe tag.
There was reason De Aza was out of range: replays clearly showed he never stepped on home plate.
After two outs, Alex Rios singled home another run for a 2-0 lead.
Cano lined a shot deep into the seats in the third, a batter after Mark Teixeira drew one of Floyd’s season-high five walks.
NOTES: White Sox RHP Phil Humber was scheduled begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday. ... Peavy caught a flight to Muscle Shoals, Ala., immediately following the game to attend his 11-year-old son Jacob’s All-Star baseball game.