CHICAGO (AP) — Gleyber Torres hit a two-run homer and the New York Yankees stayed perfect when they use an opener, cooling off the Chicago White Sox with an 8-4 win Saturday night.
Torres capped New York’s four-run fourth with his 15th homer, a drive to center off Reynaldo López. He also had a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Gary Sánchez added three RBIs as New York leapfrogged Tampa Bay for the AL East lead with just its fourth win in its last 12 games. Cameron Maybin connected for his second homer, and Didi Gregorius had two hits.
The Yankees have been battling the Rays for the division lead for much of the season, and it looks as if help is on the way — in the form of another feared slugger for their potent lineup.
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that New York is close to obtaining Edwin Encarnación in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been completed.
ESPN was the first to report the move. It was not immediately known what the Yankees might send to the Mariners.
Chicago had won five of six to get back to .500 for the first time since April 5. But it was unable to overcome another shaky performance by López (4-7), who permitted five runs and six hits in six innings after the start of the game was delayed 32 minutes by rain.
Catcher Welington Castillo and manager Rick Renteria were ejected by umpire Phil Cuzzi for arguing balls and strikes in the top of the eighth. It was Castillo’s second career ejection.
James McCann replaced Castillo and hit a three-run homer off Jonathan Holder in the bottom half. But Eloy Jiménez struck out swinging to end the inning, and New York added another run in the ninth when Gregorius walked with the bases loaded.
The Yankees improved to 5-0 this year when employing an opener, with Chad Green starting each one of those victories. The right-hander struck out six in two dominant innings against the White Sox.
After Green departed, Nestor Cortes Jr. (1-0) pitched five-plus innings for his first major league win. The left-hander allowed two runs and six hits, struck out seven and walked none.
Yankees infielder Gio Urshela was out of the starting lineup, and manager Aaron Boone said he planned to rest Gregorius on Sunday.
Gregorius missed the start of the season after he had Tommy John surgery in October. The shortstop is batting .385 (10 for 26) in seven games since he returned June 7.
“I feel like he has responded well, feel like he’s moving pretty well,” Boone said, “and feel like overall he’s getting sharper and sharper with each inning.”
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (right shoulder inflammation) is getting stretched out as part of his throwing program. Boone said he isn’t sure when Severino will have his first bullpen session. “He’s moving in the right direction, but staying pretty disciplined to the progression,” Boone said. … Sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge continued their rehab stints with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Stanton played left field and went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Judge served as the designated hitter and went 0 for 4 during a 2-0 loss at Durham. Boone said he thinks Judge (strained left oblique) is going to play in the field Sunday.
White Sox: INF Yoán Moncada (upper back tightness) was out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game, but Renteria said he was doing much better. “We certainly hope to get him in the lineup tomorrow,” Renteria said.
Right-handers Masahiro Tanaka and Odrisamer Despaigne pitch Sunday in the finale of the four-game series. Tanaka (4-5, 3.58 ERA) is 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA in his last three starts for New York. Despaigne (0-1, 4.50 ERA) is coming off his first major league appearance of the season, tossing six innings of three-run ball during Chicago’s 12-1 loss to Washington on Monday night.
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