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Chicago White Sox starter Vince Velasquez was one out away from a scoreless first inning Friday against the New York Yankees.

Standing in his way: the hot-hitting Giancarlo Stanton.

The cleanup hitter continued his tear with a two-run home run, his third of the series.

Velasquez surrendered three homers in five innings as the Yankees beat the Sox 10-4 in front of 28,877 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“Just starting off, I didn’t come out as hot as I expected,” Velasquez said. “The last two outings (against the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox) have been really locked in. It just seems like I was out of sync right from beginning.

“This team is very selective when it comes to finding what they like and if you don’t execute, they’re going to capitalize.”

The Yankees finished with four home runs — two-run blasts from Stanton and Josh Donaldson and solo homers by Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo — and won for the 17th time in 19 games.

Gavin Sheets hit a two-run homer for the Sox, who lost for the third time in four games.

Stanton hit two-run homers in the first and third innings Thursday, helping the Yankees to a 15-7 victory.

He wasted no time contributing again Friday. Judge drew a one-out walk and Stanton homered with two outs.

“The first inning, I didn’t have my slider, I didn’t have the command of the curveball as much as I wanted to,” Velasquez said. “With a big strike zone like that, I’m trying to force contact. It was a matter of sticking to what the task was and I fell short.”

The Sox tried to dig out the 2-0 hole, loading the bases with one out in bottom of the first.

Sheets struck out and Yankees catcher Jose Trevino threw to third to try to get Tim Anderson. The shortstop made it safely by diving, but the third baseman Donaldson tried to nudge him off the base.

The benches and bullpens briefly cleared.

Once everyone went back to their respective areas, Yankees starter Gerrit Cole struck out AJ Pollock to escape the jam without allowing a run.

“He made the pitches to get the hitters out,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “You’ve got to give him credit.”

The Yankees had four hits — two singles and two doubles — during a three-run second.

Judge’s solo homer in the fourth, his second of the series, made it 6-0. Gallo’s solo home run in the fifth gave the Yankees a 7-1 lead.

Velasquez allowed seven runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks in five innings.

“Look at the standings, look at what they’re doing,” Velasquez said of the Yankees, who have the best record in baseball at 24-8. “They’re going to ambush and when you don’t have your best stuff it makes things a little bit harder.

“But you’re going to have you’re good days, you’re going to have your bad days. It’s just a matter of you kind of getting back on the horse and going back to work.”

La Russa appreciated “the way (Velasquez) gutted it out and gave us five (innings).”

Cole allowed three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and a walk in 6⅓ innings. He surrendered the two-run homer to Sheets in the sixth.

“He’s got great stuff,” Sheets said. “He’s a guy that you don’t know what he’s going to throw at you. It could be 100, it could be 82, it could be 88. You just have to battle, you’ve got to grind with him.

“He gets your focus at the plate, because his stuff’s very good. It’s fun to face guys like that. It’s not guys you see every day. You gear it up, and it’s a good battle.”

Donaldson’s two-run homer against reliever Matt Foster came during a three-run ninth. The Sox have allowed 38 runs (30 earned) on 48 hits in the last four games.

“When we got torched today, it was almost always we just missed our location,” La Russa said. “You would see the catcher setting up and the pitch went a different place. And that’s what a hitter is supposed to do, they’re supposed to punish it. And they did.”


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Chicago White Sox strand 9 runners in a 6-2 loss as their offensive rut continues: Were working on it, hitter by hitter

Adam Engel dived trying to catch Emmanuel Rivera’s slicing liner in the sixth inning Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium.

The Chicago White Sox right fielder came up empty and slipped slightly as he got back to his feet. MJ Melendez scored from first as Rivera raced to third for an RBI triple.

The hit against reliever Reynaldo López gave the Kansas City Royals the lead. The Royals scored twice in the sixth and Melendez added a two-run homer off Ryan Burr in the eighth as they beat the Sox 6-2 in front of 13,504.

“I told (Engel) when he came in, don’t ever lose your aggressiveness,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “A couple plays (shortstop) Timmy (Anderson) made, the double play (first baseman José) Abreu made, (second baseman) Leury (García) made some good plays.

“You can’t be trying defensively and not trying offensively. It just doesn’t work that way.”

It was another inconsistent night for the offense. The Sox collected 10 hits, including three singles by Anderson, but went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position to fall one game under .500 (18-19).

“It’s not acceptable, if the offense is struggling, for the pitchers to say, ‘Hey, get some runs,’” La Russa said. “What’s acceptable is if the offense is trying their best. If that’s where we are, then we keep working at it. And if you see something that you think is not our best, then you fix it.

“Same thing as the pitching. You can’t just look at results and say, ‘Oh, why don’t you get somebody out?’ That’s not how we handle it. The fact is, though, that we’ve got to get out of this rut offensively. We’re working on it, hitter by hitter.”

The Sox produced early, taking a 1-0 lead on a two-out RBI single by García in the second. The Royals tied it with a run in the bottom of the inning and took the lead on a solo homer by Bobby Witt Jr. in the third against starter Lucas Giolito.

Giolito allowed two runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in five innings in his return from the COVID-19-related injured list. The right-hander went on the COVID IL on Friday and was reinstated Wednesday.

“Got into a much better rhythm as the game went on,” Giolito said. “Got clipped in the third inning on a lazy breaking ball, but other than that I was much more pleased with the last three than the first two. I credit the defense behind me and (catcher Yasmani Grandal) really carrying me through five innings, especially in the early going.

“Unbelievable plays by Tim and Abreu. (Grandal) throwing a guy out. Getting outs like that on situations where I could keep throwing more pitches, they really helped me get through five innings. Not my best, but I’m happy to be back, back in a normal routine.”

The Sox tied the game on an RBI single by Anderson in the fifth. His hit gave the Sox runners on first and second with one out, but Royals starter Zack Greinke struck out the next two batters.

The Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but reliever Collin Snider got Andrew Vaughn to ground out to end the threat.

“We had a lot (nine) left on base,” La Russa said. “Here’s the problem: I’m not giving a scouting report to the other side or our next opponent by identifying what we’re struggling with. But we can recognize it. That’s why we had a few minutes (after the game). (Hitting coaches) Frankie (Menechino) and Howie (Clark) were in (the manager’s office) talking about it.

“You don’t ever give in on it. We’re capable of better and we expect it.”

The Royals made the most of their chances in the sixth and eighth, dropping the Sox to 6-12 against American League Central opponents.

The Sox know they have to make offensive adjustments if they want to have success.

“All we care about is our issues,” La Russa said. “The answer is no easy answer. But our hitting coaches know our hitters, our hitters know our hitters. We’ll chip away at it.”


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