NEW YORK — The rebuilding White Sox have had their moments, like Tuesday night when they didn’t look much like a rebuilding team.
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez turned in the starting rotation’s latest crisp start, leaving with no runs on the board after 8„ innings in a 4-1 victory over the Yankees. David Robertson entered to record the final two outs against his former team, notching his fourth save in as many opportunities, though he did walk two batters, including one with the bases loaded for the Yankees’ lone run.
Avisail Garcia continued to run roughshod over pitchers in the first two weeks of the season by launching a three-run homer to deep left in the seventh. Garcia is leading the majors with a .440 average. He has three homers, a team-high 13 RBI and a much better approach that just might be sustainable.
The Yankees’ eight-game winning streak was brought to a crashing halt, while the Sox continued to play the steady brand of baseball that has helped them build a 7-6 record. They are 5-3 on a road trip that began with series wins against the defending AL champion Indians and the AL Central-leading Twins. A win Wednesday night would give them a winning series against baseball’s hottest team.
You are rebuilding, right general manager Rick Hahn?
Yes, he is. And it’s too early to burn the plan and “go for it.”
Of course it is.
“We can wait a little bit longer” to change course, Hahn said before the game. “Not [at] 12 games or whatever it is. Maybe 15.’’
Hahn was kidding, of course.
“Oh no, I’m hearing about it,’’ he said. “I saw an article about whether we’d stick to our plan if we continued to win and you know, we were like 6-5 at the time. We were 23-10 last year [and folded], remember? Let’s give this thing a little time to unfold.’’
What might be unfolding in the Sox’ favor is the rising stock of veterans like Gonzalez, Robertson and James Shields, all off to promising starts. Gonzalez (2-0, 2.84 ERA) retired the first 12 Yanks he faced and needed only 87 pitches to get into the ninth. All four hits against him were infield singles. Gonzalez struck out four and walked only Brett Gardner in the ninth, which prompted Robertson’s entry.
“It’s fun to be a part of this team,’’ Gonzalez said, “and we’re going to keep going, keep grinding. We have a good ballclub.’’
Leury Garcia homered against Luis Severino, who struck out 10 in eight innings and looked dominant early, in the third inning to give Gonzalez a 1-0 lead.
Avisail Garcia said he was looking for a slider when Severino hung one to him, and he pulled it a long, long way to left.
“He throws really, really, really hard,’’ said Garcia, who struck out in his first two at-bats. “He throws everything for a strike so you’ve got to be careful and don’t try and do too much with that guy.’’
This was only the Sox’ third win in their last 17 games in the Bronx. Garcia said stopping the Yankees streak was nice and all, but . . .
“No, we don’t pay attention whether they won or not,’’ he said. “We’re just trying to play the game and play hard and trying to win the game. We’re focused on that. That’s it.’’
Robertson has been lights out so far. He has struck out 11 of 20 batters, and any contending team might be inclined to inquire anytime between now and the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
Hahn likely will be listening to offers with interest.
“Look, we’re committed to having a long-term view of what we’re trying to accomplish here,’’ Hahn said. “If for whatever reason various unexpected opportunities present themselves over the course of the summer, we’ll respond accordingly. But right now we remain focused on building something sustainable for the long term.’’
Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.