- The New York Yankees will try to earn a series split with the Chicago White Sox Sunday in the finale of a four-game set on Old Timers' Day in the Bronx.
The Yankees bounced back on Saturday with a 4-0 victory after losing the first two games of the series. Curtis Granderson put the home team on top early with a solo homer. Dewayne Wise then added to Granderson's spark with an RBI double in the second inning before belting a solo home run in the fifth for the Yankees, who won for the sixth time in eight tries and padded their lead atop the AL East standings to five games over Baltimore.
Hiroki Kuroda picked up the win after allowing just three hits and striking out 11 Chicago batters in seven innings. New York's bullpen only allowed one batter to reach base in the final two innings.
"I think I've been really aggressive lately," said Kuroda. "Earlier in the season, I was facing a lot of hitters that I hadn't faced before, so I tried to be careful to hit those corners and I got behind in the count many times. Now, I try to be as aggressive as possible."
New York had won five in a row before beginning its series with the American League Central Division-leading White Sox.
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to seven games with a home run on Saturday and has driven in a run in four straight games. Nick Swisher has had a decent series so far against his former club and has pushed his batting average to .270 after going 3-for-6 at the plate the last two days.
The Yankees, who are scheduled to begin a seven-game trek at Tampa Bay and Boston on Monday, will send right-hander Phil Hughes to the mound to close out Sunday's series. Hughes held Cleveland scoreless for eight innings on Tuesday to pick up his fifth win in his past seven starts.
"My fastball was good; I threw some good curveballs when I needed to," Hughes said after Tuesday's game. "That's the first time I've ever seen an all-left- handed lineup before, and I'm pretty comfortable with my fastball going in to lefties. I did that a lot, and things worked out."
The righty comes in with an 8-6 record and a 4.48 ERA after winning just five games all of last season. Hughes has pitched 24 innings against the White Sox in his career and is 2-1 with a 0.75 ERA versus the South Siders.
Sunday marks the 66th Old-Timers' Day game for the Yankees, who will roll out legends of the past in front of the fans.
Chicago struggled to do anything offensively on Saturday and finished the game with only three hits and 13 strikeouts. Paul Konerko has managed to get a hit in the first three games of the series after going hitless for the previous three games. The designated hitter has a .320 career average versus the Yankees.
Alexei Ramirez cooled off and went hitless after going 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI on Friday. Ramirez and his double play partner Gordon Beckham are a combined 0-for-13 lifetime versus Hughes. Alex Rios has had better success and has gone 7-for-18 against Hughes in his career.
Jake Peavy pitched well for Chicago in Saturday's loss. He lasted eight innings, struck out 11 batters, and surrendered four earned runs.
"We've got to score for him (Peavy) to have a chance," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Gavin Floyd hopes to get more run support than Peavy in this one. The right- hander has not allowed a run in each of his last two outings. Floyd threw seven scoreless innings, struck out nine batters and allowed only five hits at Minnesota on Tuesday.
"A guy that has his stuff, it's [about] spotting it better," Ventura said of Floyd's outing on Tuesday. "I think just having better command and not getting balls in the middle of the plate [is the difference]. Tonight, he was able to stay away from the middle of the plate and work his way out of innings."
Last April, Floyd defeated New York in his only start at the new Yankee Stadium by holding the hosts to two runs on four hits while striking out 10 through eight innings.
The Yankees have won seven of their last nine games versus the White Sox.