Late threats come up empty as Sox fall in opener

May 18th, 2024

NEW YORK -- wasn’t happy with the 4-2 White Sox loss in Friday’s series opener against the Yankees.

But as a native of Cohoes, N.Y., who was a fan of the Bronx Bombers as a youngster and even attended games, the White Sox second baseman did come away with a special memory after playing his first career game at Yankee Stadium.

“To be out there before the game, texting my family, it was a cool moment for my inner child, for sure,” said Remillard, who grew up approximately three hours north of Yankee Stadium. “Hate to come away with a loss, but there was some personal stuff that was pretty cool.”

That feel-good story for the 30-year-old doesn’t cover up the night’s baseball story, with the Yankees (31-15) simply being a little bit better than the White Sox (14-31). New York seemed in control for much of the contest behind starter Nester Cortes (2-4), who yielded one unearned run in seven innings with six strikeouts, and Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who both launched home runs over 415 feet.

But even with that edge, the White Sox had chances to tie the game or even win in the eighth and ninth innings. Tommy Pham, who had three hits overall, opened the eighth with a double off one-time White Sox reliever Ian Hamilton and scored on Andrew Vaughn’s second RBI single of the game.

Pinch-hitter Gavin Sheets doubled to left-center one out later, putting runners at second and third and prompting Yankees manager Aaron Boone to bring in left-handed reliever Caleb Ferguson to face the left-handed-hitting Andrew Benintendi. Ferguson fanned Benintendi, then Corey Julks -- who was playing in his first game with the White Sox -- lined out to right fielder Juan Soto to end the threat.

Manager Pedro Grifol considered pinch-hitting the right-handed Korey Lee for Benintendi, whose 0-for-4 showing Friday dropped his average to .195 and his OPS to .503. But Grifol instead used Lee in the ninth against closer Clay Holmes with one out and nobody on base.

“We talked about that early on before the game, but Ferguson is a reverse split for us,” Grifol said. “I like the matchup with Beni putting the ball in play. It didn’t happen. It didn’t catch us by surprise.”

“Today we played good baseball. They just outplayed us,” Pham said. “We competed. We competed. That’s all you can ask for. They came out on the other side.”

Pham struck out against Holmes as the tying run with two outs in the ninth after Remillard battled his way back from an 0-2 count to draw his second walk of the night.

After Remillard drew his first walk in the fifth and Pham followed with a single, Cortes picked him off from second for the inning’s second out following a Vaughn popout. Remillard and Pham had both swiped third off Cortes earlier in the game, but Remillard got caught in this instance.

“Yeah, welcome to baseball,” said Remillard, who was running on the pitch when he got caught. “Can’t play perfect games. Sometimes you play aggressive and sometimes they make a better play.”

“Part of our game plan is be aggressive,” Grifol said. “Things like that are going to happen.”

Julks was thrown out at third in the fourth on Danny Mendick’s grounder back to the mound after reaching on a one-out double. The White Sox finished 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, although the Yankees were 2-for-8.

(0-2) suffered the loss, giving up three runs in 4 2/3 innings with five strikeouts. His velocity was up early, topping out at 95.8 mph per Statcast, but he once again hit a wall later in his effort. Much like the White Sox, Clevinger was good, but the Yankees were better.

“Felt really strong the first three, hit a little wall in the fourth again. That’s kind of been kryptonite. Feel like I need to build stamina back,” Clevinger said of his third start of ‘24. “After the last start, it was a good build. And this one, [I] came in a little bit stronger and just need to get past that wall around 50 pitches.

“We’ve been playing good baseball. Putting things together on both sides of the ball. Still some things we all need to iron out, me especially. Just the way we’ve been going about our business has been really good, what I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”