CHICAGO – Freddy Garcia pitched four shutout innings against his former team as the New York Yankees gave the veteran right-hander a 3-0 lead.
Garcia's night suddenly caved in during the White Sox's five-run fifth inning. After he departed, the Yankees regained the lead before the bullpen gave up three homers as Chicago rallied for a 9-6 victory in the opener of a three-game series between first-place teams Monday night.
"I'm really disappointed. We had the lead, 3-0. That's the game," said Garcia, who helped the White Sox win the 2005 World Series.
"I was pretty good. I don't know. Something happened and I couldn't find the strike zone," he added. "It's crazy, but that's exactly what it is."
Chicago's Gordon Beckham had a game-tying homer off Joba Chamberlain, Alexei Ramirez hit a go-ahead homer against Boone Logan, and Adam Dunn drove out his major league best 36th against Derek Lowe. Garcia earlier yielded a homer to Dewayne Wise.
"It's tough to swallow. We've been scuffling as a whole down there lately," Logan said . "You gotta grind through it and get through it. We know that and we talk about it. We're doing the best we can."
Ramirez's tiebreaking homer came on a 3-2 pitch.
"It was a bad pitch, either way, but I was looking to throw it low, in the dirt. I was gonna show it to him, but in the dirt," Logan said. "If I walked him, onto the next guy. If he swings, I strike him out."
New York's Derek Jeter homered and had four hits, tying Eddie Murray for 11th place on the career hits list (3,255). He also took over 13th place on the runs scored list (1,845), passing Craig Biggio.
"He just continues to have big days for us. That's what he's doing. It is pretty amazing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
But not even Jeter's strong night at the plate could keep the Yankees watching their lead slip to four games in the AL East over Tampa Bay. That's New York's smallest lead in the division since before play on June 30.
"We just weren't able to get it done. We didn't get any distance out of Freddy," Girardi said of the loss. "We have guys we can mix and match with, but you have to get some distance (out of your starter) in order to do that."
Wise hit a two-run homer for Chicago as the White Sox scored five times in the fifth for a 5-3 lead, but the Yankees quickly went ahead in the top of the sixth on Jeter's solo homer and RBI singles by Mark Teixeira and pinch-hitter Casey McGehee.
However, Beckham homered off Chamberlain to start the bottom of the sixth, tying it at 6.
Wise, designated for assignment by the Yankees in July, hit his sixth homer in the fifth, shortly after umpires reversed a call and ruled that an apparent double by Ramirez was a foul ball.
"I mean I'm not going to lie. When you play against a former team you obviously want to go out there and try and do well," Wise said. "I don't think too many people can leave one team that was in first place and come to another one, so I'm pretty blessed and just glad to be here."
Ramirez led off with a bouncer over third that third base umpire Bill Welke ruled a fair ball with Ramirez reaching on second. But after an umps' conference, they reversed the call and ruled it was foul. White Sox manager Robin Ventura came out of the dugout for an explanation but the changed call stood and Ramirez then struck out. At the time it was a pivotal call because Beckham followed with a single and then Wise homered.
Kevin Youkilis followed with a single and Dunn and Paul Konerko walked to load the bases and finish Garcia. Chicago tied it on Alex Rios' fielder's choice grounder.
A.J. Pierzynski greeted reliever Clay Rapada with an RBI single to center, giving Chicago a 4-3 lead and after the Yankees brought in their fourth pitcher of the inning in Chamberlain, Dayan Viciedo hit another run-scoring single.
Garcia lasted 4 1-3 innings. He gave up six hits and five runs with eight strikeouts.
Chicago starter Gavin Floyd threw 50 pitches in the first two innings and was yanked after just 2 1-3 innings — his shortest outing of the season — when he gave up five hits, three runs and four walks.
NOTES: Yankees ace CC Sabathia is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this week and manager Girardi said how the left-hander feels after that workout could determine if he can come off the DL and return to the rotation. ... White Sox CF and leadoff hitter Alejandro de Aza missed his third straight game with a sore back. ... The game took three hours and 44 minutes.