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Michael Kopech aims for first season win as White Sox face Yankees

Apr 16, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Michael Kopech (34) throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox blew a save on Saturday, but that didn’t trickle down to surrendering their composure.

After earning a 3-2, walk-off win against the New York Yankees, the White Sox are in position to salvage a split of the four-game series on Sunday in Chicago.

“We competed all the way to the end,” White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said. “It’s always great to get a win.”

Anderson notched his sixth three-hit game of the season to fuel Chicago, which was outscored 25-11 in losing the first two games of the series. Anderson is batting .339 for the season.

Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert had two hits apiece, with Robert hitting a game-ending single against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning.

Robert extended his hitting streak to 12 with an RBI single in the first inning.

The Yankees tied the game at 2 with solo runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Giancarlo Stanton paced the attack, going 3 for 4, and has 10 hits in his past four games.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone expressed little concern over the team producing just two runs Saturday.

“We’ll score,” Boone said.

Chicago will look to right-hander Michael Kopech (0-0, 0.93 ERA) to help secure both a split of the series and a six-game homestand.

Kopech appeared in line for his first victory of the season on Monday after spacing an unearned run and two hits in six innings against the Cleveland Guardians. Chicago imploded in the ninth inning, however, squandering an 8-2 lead en route to a 12-9 loss in 11 innings.

“Kopech looked phenomenal out there,” said White Sox closer Liam Hendriks, who allowed a game-tying grand slam to Josh Naylor. “But yeah, I mean, he’s still decision-less this year, and that’s another thing that comes into it. We had an opportunity to give him his first win of the year because I didn’t do my job.”

Kopech settled into a groove after throwing a combined 39 pitches in the first and second innings.

“First two (innings), I kind of felt like I was all over the place,” Kopech said. “But after I made an adjustment, I felt like I was able to give the team a chance.”

Sunday will mark Kopech’s first career start against the Yankees. He has pitched to a 3.86 ERA in two previous relief appearances vs. New York, covering 2 1/3 innings.

Left-hander Nestor Cortes (1-1, 1.41 ERA) will get the call for the Yankees. Cortes is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two career appearances against the White Sox, including one start, with 14 strikeouts in 11 innings. He took a no-decision Monday in a home start against the Texas Rangers, pitching 7 1/3 innings of one-hit ball with four walks and 11 strikeouts.

New York won the game 1-0 as Cortes, who said after the game that he felt “like I got hit by a truck,” took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning.

“He worked the bottom of the zone really well,” Texas leadoff hitter Marcus Semien said. “You have to honor that fastball at the bottom, and then he throws a cutter right under it. It’s a recipe for success.”

–Field Level Media