Cueto sharp, Pollock HR in 9th, Chisox top Yanks in 1st game

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Johnny Cueto pitched six more scoreless innings, AJ Pollock hit a tiebreaking home run off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth and the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees 3-1 on a calm Sunday in the first game of a doubleheader.

There didn’t appear to be any carryover of the anger and tension at Yankee Stadium from the previous afternoon. On Saturday, the benches cleared and Yankees slugger Josh Donaldson, who is white, acknowledged calling Chicago star Tim Anderson, who is Black, “Jackie” – a reference to pioneering baseball icon Jackie Robinson that elicited criticism from both managers.

Anderson didn’t play in the opener. Manager Tony La Russa said he wanted the star shortstop to play only one game.

Pollock hit a leadoff homer against Chapman (0-2), who also gave up an RBI double to Adam Engel. Chapman has given up at least one run in each of his last five appearances.

Afterward, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Chapman – who was visited at the mound by Boone and a trainer after a walked to Andrew Vaughn set up Engel’s hit – has been dealing with an Achilles issue.

“He was getting some treatment on his Achilles,” Boone said. “I just felt like when he was moving around, he wasn’t moving around great out there. He wanted the ball.”

Yasmani Grandal, whose exchange of words with Donaldson on Saturday led to the benches emptying, hit an RBI single in the fourth.

Liam Hendriks, who used an expletive earlier Sunday to describe how he didn’t believe Donaldson’s explanation that he made the “Jackie” reference as part of an inside joke with Anderson, struck out two in a perfect ninth to preserve the win for Kendall Graveman (1-1).

Hendriks pumped his fist and yelled loud enough to be heard three levels away after whiffing Jose Trevino for the final out.

“We were after that game – guys were after it,” La Russa said. “Got dramatic at the end. Hard-earned.”

Aaron Judge briefly tied the game for the Yankees by homering off Graveman with one out in the eighth.

Anderson was originally penciled in as the leadoff batter before La Russa scratched him, citing a desire to save him for the cooler nightcap. The temperature at Sunday’s first pitch was 90 degrees.

Donaldson, starting at third base and batting fifth, was 0 for 4 but came within a few feet of a much bigger day. With two on and two outs in the first, Donaldson lined out to third base, where Yoan Moncada – inserted into the lineup in place of Anderson – saved a run by snaring the ball at his shoetops. In the fourth, Donaldson flied out to the wall in left field.

With two on and one out in the eighth, he flew out to the track in right-center. Grandal went out to talk to Graveman as Donaldson approached the batter’s box. Donaldson stepped back out of the box as Grandal returned to the plate.

La Russa said Donaldson’s comment was “racist” following Saturday’s game, a 7-5 Yankees win. New York manager Aaron Boone said Sunday he believed Donaldson didn’t mean any harm with his words, but thought using such a term was “.somewhere he should not be going.”

Judge’s 15th home run cost Cueto a chance at the win. The resurgent 36-year-old righty allowed six hits, walked two and struck out five in his second major league outing of the season.

After going 7-7 with San Francisco last season, he was let go. The White Sox gave him a chance and started him out in the minors before calling him up from Triple-A Charlotte last Monday.

In his debut for the White Sox, he threw six shutout innings of two-hit ball at Kansas City. This is the first time in his 15-year career he’s opened a season with back-to-back scoreless outings of six innings or longer.

“He’s been awesome for us – works fast, he has all sorts of pitches to get them off-balance, shimmy shake,” Pollock said, referring to Cueto’s ever-changing delivery. “It’s awesome to play behind him. It’s great having him out there in the first game of a doubleheader.”

Yankees starter Jameson Taillon allowed one run on five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in a season-high seven innings.

MONCADA’S BUNT

Moncada, who was inserted into the lineup into the leadoff spot when Anderson was scratched, recorded a bunt double for the White Sox’s first hit with two outs in the third inning. The bunt skated along the third base line as Taillon and Donaldson watched, but it remained fair well beyond the bag. Moncada has just three sacrifices in his seven-year career, none since 2019.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: LHP Aaron Bummer (right knee strain) was activated from the 15-day injured list and served as the 27th man for the doubleheader. . Cueto got dizzy in the sixth inning and received a pair of drinks – one water, one a sports drink – from a trainer. He spent the time between games getting hydrated. . Graveman also received a visit from the trainer after feeling fatigued in the eighth but was able to complete the inning.

Yankees: RHP Chad Green (elbow), long one of the Yankees’ top setup men, will undergo Tommy John surgery. Green was hurt while pitching against Baltimore on Thursday night. He has a 3.17 ERA, 11 saves and 494 strikeouts in 383 2/3 innings for the Yankees since 2016. . OF Joey Gallo and C Kyle Higashioka were each placed on the COVID-19 IL. Boone said neither player has tested positive but both are showing symptoms of the coronavirus. Neither player attended Saturday night’s annual Welcome Home Dinner.

UP NEXT

White Sox: After an off-day Monday, RHP Dylan Cease (4-1, 3.09 ERA) is slated to start against the Boston Red Sox as the White Sox begin a five-game homestand.

Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (4-0, 2.89 ERA) takes the mound Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Baltimore Orioles.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.