Abreu’s struggles continue in White Sox’ loss to Yankees

NEW YORK — Jose Abreu continues to work his way through a hitting slump. His defense at first base on a slow roller did the White Sox no favors, either, in a 7-4 loss to the streaking Yankees on Monday night.

Abreu moved in and to his right to field a tap by Jacoby Ellsbury in the third inning, but the ball deflected off his glove and left him with no play. It was ruled a hit but it was a play he said he should have made, even though the official scorer credited Ellsbury with a hit.

“I rushed it a little bit, and once you rush the play, things usually happen,” Abreu said through translator Billy Russo.

Two batters later, Matt Holliday hit a misplaced Derek Holland fastball 459 feet for a three-run, two-out homer to break a scoreless tie, and the Yankees added two more runs in the inning. It was 5-0.

Derek Holland #45 of the White Sox stands on the mound in the fifth inning with teammates Kevan Smith #36, Matt Davidson #24 and Jose Abreu #79 prior to being removed from a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The lead went to 7-0 on Aaron Judge’s two-run homer in the fifth, a lead too large for the scuffling Sox lineup to overcome. They did scramble back with a three-run homer by Yolmer Sanchez against lefty Jordan Montgomery in the seventh and pushed across a run in the ninth, forcing Yankees manager Joe Girardi to use closer Aroldis Chapman.

But that was that. The win was the Yankees’ eighth in a row. The Sox fell to 6-6.

 “You can’t let that get to you,” said Holland, whose career ERA is now 6.97 against the Yankees. “I thought I did a good job of not letting it get to me. I continued to keep attacking the zone as much as I could.”

Holland had to know he deserved better. He thought he made some good pitches on the inside corner that didn’t get called for strikes by umpire Vic Carapazza. He also knows he made some bad pitches.

“That’s how baseball is,” he said. “It’s a tough game. It’s a game of adjustments and I didn’t make those that I needed to make.”

Abreu probably needs to adjust after going 0-for-4, leaving Tyler Saladino at third when he grounded out to third baseman Chase Headley with one out in the first. The Sox’ slugger is 2-for-27 in seven games on the current road trip and has one extra-base hit, a double, this season.

His batting average dropped to .170 and he has five RBI.

“I am working on it with the hitting coach [Todd Steverson], the assistant hitting coach [Greg Sparks],” he said. “Like you said, I am struggling right now, but I’m trying to find a way to get out of it. There are some at-bats where I can put the barrel on the ball, and there are some at-bats where I can find the ball in the strike zone. I am trying to figure out what’s happening.”

Abreu did throw out Judge after Anderson’s throw bounced past him and he made a nice play on a grounder behind first base.

NOTES: Anthony Swarzak pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts. He has not allowed a run in four appearances.

*Rookie center fielder Jacob May went 0-for-3 and is now 0-for-24 to start his career.

*Tyler Saladino reached base three times, raising his on-base percentage to .410.

*Sox pitching’s ERA climbed to 3.01. The seven runs allowed was a season high.

*Kevan Smith’s RBI double in the ninth was his first career extra base hit. It forced manager Joe Girardi to bring in Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.

*Shortstop Tim Anderson and left fielder Melky Cabrera were charged with errors.