If the New York Yankees are going to make a playoff run, they’ll need key hits from players throughout the lineup
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They got just that Tuesday when Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Harrison Bader delivered successive hits with runners in scoring position on Tuesday to key a 7-1 road win against the Chicago White Sox
Their fourth-inning heroics represented a huge step for the Yankees, who were 1-12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 on base in Monday’s series opener, a 5-1 loss. Consider it progress the Yankees hope to bring to the rubber game of the series Wednesday night
“I think we were just trying to make them come to us,” Kiner-Falefa said. “That was a big break right there and we were able to catch some momentum. Hopefully, we can hold it. That’s the biggest thing, is holding that momentum, so we’ve got to keep going.
New York stopped Chicago’s three-game winning streak while overcoming 17 strikeouts by Chicago pitchers. The Yankees moved to within 4 1/2 games of the Toronto Blue Jays for the final American League wild-card spot
The clutch hitting prevailed both during a four-run fourth inning and a three-run eighth, which included a pinch-hitter Kyle Higashioka’s home run, a two-run blast. Aaron Judge belted a solo shot later in the eighth
A jolt also came from the pitching staff, as Jonathan Loaisiga pitched a perfect ninth in his first appearance since April 5. He had been on the injured list after needing surgery to relieve a bone spur in his right elbow
“It was good to see Lo back,” said Kiner-Falefa, who added: “He’s like the trade deadline guy, so him coming back right now is a huge boost for us, and we’re excited to have him.
The Yankees had not named a starter for the game as of Wednesday morning. Chicago will try to claim its second series of the season from New York behind right-hander Mike Clevinger (4-5, 3.72 ERA)
Clevinger, who missed nearly six weeks with right biceps inflammation, will hope to build consistency while channeling advice from manager Pedro Grifol
“Pedro’s reiterated this to the clubhouse every time, but every major league win is important; this is the best of the best,” Clevinger said. “You can’t take anything for granted or any opportunity you have out there. You’ve just got to give it the best you can.
Clevinger pitched five shutout innings July 29 to defeat the Cleveland Guardians in his return from the injured list but wasn’t as sharp against the same Cleveland team five days later. He lost Friday after allowing four runs, three earned, on eight hits in five innings
The Yankees defeated Clevinger on June 8 in New York, reaching him for three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. Clevinger is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in five career appearances against the Yankees, including four starts
White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal is day-to-day after leaving Tuesday’s game with left knee soreness. Shortstop Tim Anderson missed the game with a bruised left forearm he sustained during Chicago’s win on Monday
Gleyber Torres has an eight-game hitting streak for New York, with four of them multi-hit games
–Field Level Medi