NEW YORK -- Behind a brief surge of offensive productivity in the second inning, a strong start from Ivan Nova and the dominance of their bullpen, the Yankees outdueled Jose Quintana and the White Sox on Saturday to win, 2-1, at Yankee Stadium.
Nova looked strong while making just his second start of the season, allowing one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. When he left the ball over the plate, the White Sox took advantage, as three of the four hits they mustered against him went for extra bases. But those occasions were few and far between.
"We couldn't get anything going. Nova was good," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "His sinker was great today. We kept beating it into the ground. And if you don't get anything early, you're going to end up with that back end of the bullpen."
After Nova, the Yankees' vaunted bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman took over, striking out eight batters and allowing just one hit in 3 1/3 innings of scoreless work. Chapman secured his second save of the season and also threw four of the 10 fastest pitches that Statcast™ has recorded in 2016, including the top two (102.49 and 102.38 mph).
"They're strikeout machines," Nova said of the three-headed-monster behind him. "Once you throw six, you can kind of relax, but they'll get the job done. It's special to have those guys behind us."
The Yankees gave Nova an early lead in the second inning when the bottom of the order jumped on Quintana for two runs on three hits and a walk, all with two outs. Quintana, who entered the day the American League leader in ERA, put together another solid outing, allowing just five hits and two runs over seven innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The bullpen plan: For the first time since Chapman debuted for the Yankees earlier this week following his suspension to open the season, the Yankees were able to get him, Miller and Betances in the same game. Betances entered in the sixth for one batter and promptly struck out Melky Cabrera. He didn't stop there, striking out the side in the seventh before handing the reins over to Miller. The lefty followed Betances with a two-strikeout performance, bridging the way to Chapman, who set down the middle of the White Sox lineup 1-2-3 with two strikeouts, throwing 100 mph or faster 12 times in 20 pitches. More >
"I've been waiting for it," Betances said of the three getting to pitch on the same day. "I obviously want to be out there whenever we're winning. I want to go out there and help the team win. Today was the first time we were all out there and it just shows what we can do."
Frazier goes deep: In front of numerous friends and family who made the hour trip from Toms River, N.J., Todd Frazier produced the White Sox only run with a long one-out blast in the fourth. Frazier now has 12 homers and a team-high 32 RBIs, with 14 of the RBIs coming in his last seven games.
Rally on two: After Quintana set down the first five batters he faced, it looked like he had the second inning all wrapped up, holding an 0-2 advantage over Chase Headley. But Headley stood firm in the at-bat, forcing a walk and prolonging the inning. Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius and Austin Romine followed with an RBI double, an RBI single and a ground-rule double, respectively, plating two runs and giving the Yankees the early lead. More >
"He's a guy that's been throwing 75, 80 percent fastballs," Headley said of Quintana. "So my plan going in was just to attack him, and then he went changeup, changeup and you're down 0-2. From that point you're just battling, trying to stay alive and put something in play. I was fortunate. I thought I was seeing the ball out of his hand pretty well. I was able to get on, and then obviously Hicks had the big hit."
Ninth-inning reunion: Frazier and Chapman were teammates with the Reds from 2011-15 and faced each other twice in intrasquad games. By Frazier's recollection, he homered and got hit by a pitch in those two at-bats. Chapman came at Frazier with eight fastballs leading off the ninth, including six that were at 100 mph or faster, before Frazier swung through the final offering.
"Fun at-bat. You know it's coming in hard and I had a couple of opportunities to square some balls up, and you can't miss with a guy like that," Frazier said. "Work the count a little, you've got to get on base one way or another, and I didn't do my job. Come back tomorrow and try to do it again."
"What did Max Scherzer say the other day? Strikeouts are sexy. I think strikeouts are fun. The fans like them. They're exciting plays. They're like home runs." -- Miller, on the power pitchers in the back end of the bullpen.
"He would be able to pop one. You just roll the dice with him." -- Ventura, on why he pinch-hit Jerry Sands for No. 5 hitter Cabrera with one out in the ninth against Chapman. Sands struck out after working the count full.
PLAY BALL … WITHOUT THE PATCH
Home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski came out to the mound in the second during Headley's at-bat with two outs to check on something on Quintana's glove. It turned out to be the patch for the Play Ball initiative, which had accidentally rubbed off his jersey with the pitcher resting his glove against it. Quintana was given the option of fixing the patch in between innings, but he elected to remove it.
White Sox:Miguel Gonzalez (0-0, 4.91 ERA) makes his third start for the White Sox in Sunday's series finale at 12:05 p.m. CT as he tries to get a handle on the rotation's fifth-starter job. Gonzalez made his first two starts against the Blue Jays and Rangers, and he has posted a 2-3 record with a 4.99 ERA lifetime at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees: The Yanks finish their 10-day homestand Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET with their ace on the mound, as Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 3.11 ERA) toes the rubber. Jacoby Ellsbury is also expected to return to the starting lineup. He's been sidelined with a hip injury and appeared late in Saturday's game as a defensive replacement.
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