NEW YORK — In winning six of their first 11 games, the White Sox pitched well, played great defense and received an appropriate amount of offense.
But none of those elements was present until it was too late on Monday night. Several missed offensive opportunities, defensive mistakes and pitches left over the plate by Derek Holland sent the White Sox to a 7-4 loss in front of 28,181 at Yankee Stadium. The White Sox stranded several early base runners, committed two errors and Holland yielded two long home runs in the series opener. Yolmer Sanchez hit a three-run homer for the White Sox, who brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning. Aroldis Chapman earned the save for the Yankees, who scored five runs in the third inning en route to their eighth straight victory.
"I have to make the adjustments," Holland said. "I wasn't getting the calls inside. I have to adjust to that. Overall I didn't do a good job of executing the way I wanted to. My stuff was great.
"When you have to live in one area, that makes it easier for them to hit the ball. I just have to make a better adjustment.
"It was a good game except for that one inning. You take that away and it's a different game. What it all comes down to, no matter what, is I have to make those adjustments."
The defense forced Holland — who allowed seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings — to make several additional pitches early on. Holland pitched out of a jam in the second inning after Tim Anderson made a throwing error. But he didn't have the same luck in the third.
With one out and a man on first, Jose Abreu bobbled Jacoby Ellsbury's slow roller to the right side and didn't get the ball to Tyler Saladino in time for the out at first. While the official scorer ruled it a hit, the play easily could have resulted in Abreu's third error.
"I rushed it a little bit, and once you rush the play, things usually happen," Abreu said through an interpreter. "I wasn't paying attention to (Ellsbury's) speed. I just wanted to make the play quickly, and once I tried to rush it, I messed up."
Aaron Hicks then grounded into a fielder's choice for what would have been the final out. But Matt Holliday made the most of the extra out as he hammered a high 2-2 fastball for a three-run homer, a 459-foot shot to left. Starlin Castro and Chase Headley then hit consecutive doubles to put the Yankees ahead 4-0 and Headley advanced to third when Melky Cabrera booted the ball. Aaron Judge's two-out single gave New York a 5-0 lead.
Two innings later, Castro singled and Judge crushed a 2-1 curveball for a two-run homer to put the Yankees ahead by seven.
[BUY TICKETS: Get your White Sox seats here]
Holland and manager Rick Renteria both referred to the left-hander's gameplan to attack right-handed hitters inside. Holland threw as many as seven borderline pitches that didn't result in a called strike, according to brooksbaseball.net.
"He went out and tried to attack these guys a certain way, they got us a little bit, and we still managed to get the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth," Renteria said.
The White Sox offense continued to sputter until they trailed by seven runs. Abreu and Avisail Garcia both stranded runners in scoring position in the first inning. The White Sox hit into double plays in the second and fourth innings against New York pitcher Jordan Montgomery and Cabrera and Abreu stranded a pair in the sixth.
Sanchez followed singles by Garcia and Matt Davidson to open the seventh inning with a three-run blast off Montgomery, who went six-plus innings. Sanchez also singled twice and scored on an RBI double by Kevan Smith in the ninth inning. Smith's double meant the Yankees had to call upon Chapman, who yielded a first-pitch single to pinch-hitter Leury Garcia before he induced a game-ending double play off Tyler Saladino's bat.