Yankees extend win streak to eight

18 Apr


The way Jordan Montgomery keeps his cool on the mound, it’s hard to believe he’s a rookie.

The way the New York Yankees keep winning games lately, it’s easy to forget who they’re missing.

Montgomery took a shutout into the seventh inning for his first major league win, Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer in his return to the lineup and the Yankees romped to their eighth consecutive victory by beating the Chicago White Sox 7-4 on Monday night.

“We’ve just kind of found a nice rhythm and a nice recipe,” Holliday said.

The veteran slugger triggered a five-run third with a titanic shot into the raised bleachers beyond the left-center bullpen, his first career home run at Yankee Stadium. Aaron Judge added a two-run drive to chase Derek Holland (1-2) with the score 7-0 in the fifth.

Despite playing without injured catcher Gary Sanchez and shortstop Didi Gregorius, the Baby Bombers have rebounded from a 1-4 start with their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in June 2012.

“We’ve got guys in this room that can handle their business and are showing it,” backup catcher Austin Romine said. “They want that opportunity.”

Making his second career start, Montgomery (1-0) immediately found himself in a first-inning jam. But the 24-year-old lefty calmly pitched out of it by setting down slumping cleanup hitter Jose Abreu and streaking Avisail Garcia with runners at second and third.

“Just went out there and kind of stayed within myself,” said Montgomery, who pitched in the College World Series as a South Carolina freshman. “Hopefully the first of many, so I’m not trying to make too big a deal of it.”

Garcia began the night leading the majors with a .465 batting average, yet Montgomery never flinched.

“He’s got poise beyond his years,” Holliday said. “He’s got a very veteran demeanor to him.”

After scattering four hits over the first six innings, Montgomery gave up consecutive singles to start the seventh and then a three-run homer to Yolmer Sanchez, who finished with three hits.

That was it for the 198-cm Montgomery, who jogged off the field to cheers.

“He showed that he is a very good pitcher and that he has the talent to pitch in the big leagues,” Abreu said through a translator.

Adam Warren replaced Montgomery and worked into the ninth. Warren gave up an RBI double to Kevan Smith before Aroldis Chapman earned his fourth save when Tyler Saladino grounded into a game-ending double play — the fourth turned by the Yankees.

Warren retired 22 straight batters to begin the season before issuing a two-out walk in the seventh.

Starlin Castro had three hits for New York, and Judge drove in three runs. Castro and Chase Headley hit successive doubles after Holliday’s homer, estimated at 140 meters.

Holliday missed the previous two games with lower back stiffness.

Judge added a run-scoring infield single to complete the outburst.

The Yankees have won their first seven home games for the first time since 1998.

Mariners 6, Marlins 1

In Seattle, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz hit consecutive first-inning homers, Ariel Miranda pitched seven scoreless innings and the Mariners pounded Miami in Ichiro Suzuki’s first visit to Safeco Field as a member of the 3,000-hit club.

Miranda (1-1) allowed four singles and only one runner to reach second base while striking out five. Nick Vincent pitched a perfect eighth before Evan Scribner allowed Christian Yelich’s third home run in the ninth.

Ichiro, batting ninth and playing left field, went 0-for-3. His average fell to .067.

Brewers 6, Cubs 3

In Chicago, Eric Thames homered in his club record-tying fifth straight game and streaking Milwaukee downed the hosts.

The Brewers never trailed after Thames hit an opposite-field homer to snap a 3-3 tie in the third inning. Jeromy Burnitz was the other Brewer to homer in five straight games in August of 1997.

Braves 5, Padres 4

In Atlanta, Dansby Swanson hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning and the Braves, boosted by Freddie Freeman’s two home runs, beat San Diego for a four-game sweep in its first series at SunTrust Park.

Swanson’s bases-loaded hit fell just in front of diving left fielder Allen Cordoba. The Braves have followed a five-game losing streak with five straight wins.

Red Sox 4, Rays 3

In Boston, Andrew Benintendi hit a go-ahead, two-run single as the Red Sox scored three unearned runs following a dropped throw by second baseman Brad Miller and beat Tampa Bay in the annual Patriots’ Day game.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright (1-1) allowed three runs — one earned — and nine hits in six innings as Boston won its third straight. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for a save for the third straight day, his sixth this season.

Indians 3, Twins 1

In Minneapolis, Danny Salazar finished six innings strong after a shaky start, Michael Brantley homered and drove in two runs and Cleveland beat the hosts.

Salazar (1-1) struck out seven and retired 15 of his last 18 batters after allowing five hits and one walk over a seven-batter stretch spanning the first two innings

Astros 3, Angels 0

In Houston, Charlie Morton and three relievers combined for a five-hitter, Jose Altuve drove in two runs and Houston beat Los Angeles for its fifth straight win.

Morton (1-1) worked in and out of trouble over five innings, allowing five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Chris Devenski followed Morton with two perfect innings, Luke Gregerson threw a perfect eighth and Ken Giles pitched the ninth for his third save. Astros pitchers retired the last 14 batters.

Houston’s Norichika Aoki was hitless in three at-bats.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 1

In St. Louis, Lance Lynn pitched seven shutout innings, Kolten Wong homered and the Cardinals stopped a three-game losing streak.

St. Louis, which had lost six of seven, is 4-9 and still has the worst record in the NL.

Rangers 7, Athletics 0

In Oakland, A.J. Griffin pitched six scoreless innings in his return to the Oakland Coliseum, Nomar Mazara had two hits and three RBIS, and Texas blanked the Athletics.

Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli added two RBIs apiece to help the Rangers end a three-game skid.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 2

In Los Angeles, Jake Lamb hit a solo home run in the eighth inning and David Peralta added a run-scoring triple in the ninth to lead Arizona past Arizona.

J.J. Hoover (1-0) threw two scoreless innings in relief of Robbie Ray to earn the victory and Fernando Rodney blanked the Dodgers in the ninth to earn his fifth save

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