NEW YORK (AP) Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer off White Sox ace Chris Sale, leading Michael Pineda and the New York Yankees past Chicago 3-2 Thursday night in their push for a playoff spot.
After a tribute before their first home game since October great Yogi Berra died, the Yankees closed within three games of idle Toronto in the AL East. New York cut its magic number to six for clinching at least a wild-card slot.
Beltran, a postseason star throughout his career, gave the Yankees a boost to begin their final homestand of the season. He connected in the third inning for his 18th homer, a line drive that a young boy in the front row of the left-field seats neatly gloved.
Pineda (12-8) gave up one run, on Trayce Thompson's homer, in six innings. He improved the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the AL, fanning six without a free pass.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi again went to All-Star setup man Dellin Betances to lock down the seventh. Betances entered with two on and two outs, but walked Melky Cabrera and Thompson to force home a run before striking out Adam LaRoche.
Andrew Miller pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 37 chances, sending Chicago to its third straight loss.
Sale (12-11) fell to 0-4 in his last six starts. A Yankees lineup minus lefties Brain McCann and Brett Gardner got seven hits in seven innings against the lefty. Sale walked one and hit a batter, and both led to Beltran's homer.
Sale struck out eight, reaching 1,004 for his career and moving within two of tying the White Sox record of 269 in a season set by Ed Walsh in 1908. Sale is second in the majors in strikeouts this year, trailing only Clayton Kershaw's 281 for the Dodgers.
Jacoby Ellsbury was hit by a pitch opening the third and stole the 300th base of his career. He was called out for interference when he didn't get out of the way of shortstop Alexei Ramirez on Chase Headley's popup near second base.
Alex Rodriguez then walked, and scored his 2,000th career run on Beltran's homer.
Berra, who died Tuesday at 90, was honored during a 10-minute pregame ceremony that included a moment of silence. The flags at Yankee Stadium were at half-staff and Girardi put a wreath of blue and white flowers in the shape of Berra's No. 8 in the catcher's box.
White Sox: 3B Mike Olt was out of the lineup, a day after leaving the game with discomfort in his right shoulder. He's day to day.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka was set to see a doctor about his injured right hamstring, which caused him to miss his last scheduled start. If he's cleared to pitch, he likely would throw a bullpen session Friday and then start early next week. Girardi says it's too early to talk about whether Tanaka would start in the AL wild-card game, if the Yankees reach that matchup.
White Sox: Rookie LHP Carlos Rondon (8-6, 3.78) tries to make up for his only other start vs. the Yankees, when they scored eight runs on eight hits and four walks in three innings against him July 31.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (5-9, 4.80) is 19-4 lifetime vs. the White Sox, matching his win totals over the Tigers and Royals for his most against one opponent. He ended a nine-game winless skid overall in his last start when he beat the Mets.