NEW YORK — Through the first 14 innings of their homestand, the New York Yankees had five errors and four hits. A restless crowd was booing the team in pinstripes on a 96-degree night.
Then all of a sudden, the Bronx Bombers snapped out of it in a big way.
Pinch-hitter Neil Walker connected for a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Yankees rallied from a four-run deficit to defeat the White Sox 5-4 on Tuesday.
“It’s not easy for us right now,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’re kind of grinding through some things. It’s a tough stretch. But these guys continue to find a way.”
Aaron Hicks hit a tying homer in the eighth and rookie Miguel Andujar also had a two-run shot to help the injury-depleted Yankees win for the ninth time in 11 games. With the second-best record in the majors (84-48), they remained 6½ games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.
Walker batted for Ronald Torreyes with one out and launched the first pitch he saw from Dylan Covey (4-12) way over the right-center wall for his first career pinch-hit homer and second game-ending drive. As he neared home plate, Walker tossed his helmet high in the air and was swarmed by happy teammates.
“As a pinch-hitter, you try to assume that the first pitch you see is going to be the best pitch you see. You try to be aggressive, just try to be on time,” explained Walker, who acknowledged the Yankees are tired. “That’s obviously as much as you can ask for tonight.”
Flashing signs of improvement, the young, rebuilding White Sox had won four straight and 10 of 13.
“We’ve been playing really good baseball,” Shields said. “That’s a game we can’t let go right there. That’s a learning process for these guys, and situational pitching is very important in this game. We have to do a better job of that.”
Chicago chased Yankees starter Lance Lynn with consecutive two-out singles in the sixth. Yolmer Sanchez greeted Jonathan Holder with an RBI single, and Nicky Delmonico made it 4-0 when he plopped a two-run single into left field.
Delmonico scored easily from first base in the fifth when Gardner bobbled Avisail Garcia’s RBI double in left.
Shortstop Tim Anderson tripped over an oncoming Delmonico on Greg Bird’s eighth-inning popup, but held onto the ball. Anderson exited with a bruised left ankle and is day to day.
“I’m assuming he’ll be fine,” manager Rick Renteria said.
Anderson was replaced in the ninth by Jose Rondon.
With the Yankees down by two, Giancarlo Stanton singled leading off the eighth to stop an 0-for-14 slide. Hicks drove a full-count pitch from Juan Minaya to right and shouted toward the Yankees’ dugout as he trotted to first.
Dellin Betances (4-3) struck out two in a perfect ninth.
New York was blanked on one hit by Shields over the first five innings. Gardner began the comeback with a leadoff triple in the sixth and Andujar connected for his 22nd homer two outs later. The 36-year-old Shields threw 98 pitches in the heat but hasn’t won on the road since opening day at Kansas City. It was his 400th career start.
“I’m pretty proud of that,” he said. “Pretty special.”
Shields left leading 4-2 with two on in the sixth. He remained 5-15 overall, tied with Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb for the most losses in the majors.
“Pretty good outing overall,” Shields said. “Unfortunately, my record is not really showing how I’ve pitched this year. Sometimes that happens. … Overall, I’m really pleased with my season.”