The Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees were tied for the bottom ninth on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Tim Anderson represented the Sox’s possible winning run at second base.
Some hitters might try to do too much to produce for a team in those circumstances. But Luis Robert exhibited patience, waiting for the right pitch to attack Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.
Robert took three balls and a strike. He then he got the pitch from him, ripping out a single to right. Anderson scored before Aaron Judge’s pitch, giving the Sox a thrilling 3-2 win in front of 32,830.
“He was trying to get there early with his fastball,” Robert said through an interpreter, of his approach to the situation. “He was trying to make contact.”
It was the second game-ending blow of Robert’s career. The first came during his rookie season, when he hit a home run on August 30, 2020, against the Kansas City Royals.
“This felt better,” Robert said. “I was more excited, fans here versus the Yankees. After two losses, this one was very good.”
The Sox lost the first two games of the series, allowing a combined 25 runs.
Dallas Keuchel gave the Red Sox a pitching boost Saturday, scattering four hits in five outstanding innings. He struck out three and walked three in the 86-pitch outing.
“We’ve made a fair amount of mistakes in the first few nights (of the series) and they’ve capitalized on a lot of that,” Keuchel said. “I felt like if I could make some pitches and run early, I had a good shot. It’s fun to pitch against a team like that with the way they’re swinging the bats and the depth of their lineup, it seems like they can trade a few guys every night.
“They just keep rolling. But we are also a good team.”
Keuchel followed up a strong outing against the Boston Red Sox with one against the Yankees. He pitched a season-high six innings on May 8 at Fenway Park, allowing two runs on six hits in a 3-2 victory.
Wednesday’s postponed game against the Cleveland Guardians pushed its start back a day. He was ready for the team with the best record in baseball.
“He’s spent his entire career throwing against good teams, righties and lefties,” Red Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He beat a good team in Boston. They are good. When he executes his pitches, he has a lot of weapons.”
Keuchel landed a double play grounder to close out the first. It was the first time in the series that the Sox didn’t allow a run in the first.
The Sox did the damage on the first Saturday. Anderson singled, one of three hits from him, and scored on Robert’s single for the first run. Robert extended his hitting streak to 12.
Yoán Moncada homered leading off the third.
Keuchel led 2-0 after Anthony Rizzo grounded out to second baseman Josh Harrison with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
“I feel more like myself,” Keuchel said. “I told (reporters) it was close. I would have liked to have gone a bit more tonight. I thought that was my job. I’m a little disappointed with five.
“My job is to go out there and throw as many as I can. I figured (86) pitches was enough to at least get to six. With the number of games we’re playing (17 games in 17 days), I thought I had at least 100 releases tonight. That didn’t happen. I’m not too happy about it, but that’s the competitor in me and we’re going to have to figure something out (on Sunday) because we’ve got a lot more guys now as well.”
Reliever Kendall Graveman allowed one hit in two shutout innings.
The Yankees scored once in the eighth against Joe Kelly, and the Red Sox brought in closer Liam Hendriks with two on and one out. He struck out Josh Donaldson and Gleyber Torres, keeping it 2-1.
The Yankees tied the game on Kyle Higashioka’s sacrifice fly in the ninth, but Isiah Kiner-Falefa was out trying to advance to third on the play. Moncada cut off AJ Pollock’s throw and passed the ball to Anderson, who was covering third and bunted Kiner-Falefa for the second out of the inning.
“Excellent relay and cut,” La Russa said. “That was huge.”
Anderson singled with one out in the ninth and Moncada walked, bringing in Robert.
“That’s a high baseball IQ because you’re not going to leave (Chapman) with a home run, his talent is too good,” La Russa said. “You have to find a way to get someone to the base. Tim’s base hit was huge, Moncada’s walk, they did a good job taking what he gave, and he’s not going to give you much that you can do big damage to.”
Robert found a hole on the right side of the infield and Anderson did the rest, giving the Red Sox their first win of the season.
“The first two games were better than us,” Robert said. “But today we came prepared and we were able to execute and then we came out on top.”