Bronx, NY —Tim Anderson must have put a spell on Yankees Stadium and its players on Sunday, the Bronx Bombers had a difficult time figuring out Johnny Cuerto and Michael Kopech.
Cueto pitched a gem in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees.
Kopech was unhittable in Game 2 as the Chicago White Sox swept the twinbill, beating the Yankees 3-1 and 5-0.
Anderson said everything he needed to say with one swing of the wood — and trotting around the diamond.
Anderson smacked a three-run homer in the eighth inning and then put a finger to his lips to silence fans booing and yelling “Jackie” at him, capping off a three game successful weekend in front of 36, 167 disappointed Yankees’ fans. He already hit two singles when he homered over the right field fence with two outs, finishing off a five-run inning.
“What a day,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said.
A day after Anderson, who is a Black player, accused Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson, who is white, of making a racist remark by calling him Jackie Robinson, the All-Star shortstop didn’t play in the first game A.J Pollock smashed a tiebreaking home run off reliever Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning to seal the win in the first game.
“I think that was just one of the cooler things I’ve seen — watching an entire crowd that’s shown low class towards him, booing him, calling him ‘Jackie’ and then hitting a homer and putting us in a good position to win,” Kopech said. “Have nothing but respect for him.”
Kopech (1-1) allowed just the one hit, two walks, and struck out six over seven quiet innings.
He returned from paternity leave Friday after going home to witness the birth of his second child. Kopech retired the first 17 batters before Rob Brantly doubled off of him in the sixth.
“To be honest, my mind hasn’t been on baseball until yesterday, and that probably helped me quite a bit,” Kopech said.
Anderson and Donaldson did not speak to reporters after the doubleheader. I guess they are taking extra precautions–albeit an MLB investigation.
Luis Severino, who didn’t have his best stuff of the night scattered eight hits over seven scoreless innings. Right hander reliever Jonathan Loaisiga (1-2) lost in the relief appearance.
“They outpitched us today, ”Yankees coach Aaron Boone said. “They were able to hold us down today.”
There didn’t appear to be any carryover on the field in either game from the previous afternoon’s anger and tension when the benches and bullpens emptied. Donaldson acknowledged Saturday he called Anderson “Jackie” — a reference to the pioneering baseball icon that elicited criticism from both managers.
Donaldson said it was part of an inside joke with Anderson. MLB is investigating the incident.
“He deserves the recognition and he deserves the respect,” La Russa said of Anderson. “If somebody disrespects him, he should get upset. I know I would.”
La Russa said Donaldson’s comment was “racist” following Saturday’s game, a 7-5 Yankees win. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday he believed Donaldson didn’t mean any harm with his words, but thought using such a term was “somewhere he should not be going.”
Aaron Judge’s eighth-inning homer off Graveman (1-1) cost Cueto a win in the opener. The 36-year-old righty allowed six hits, walked two, and struck out five in his second major league outing of the season.
Yankees starter Jameson Taillon gave up one run on five hits in a season-high seven innings. Chapman (0-2) took the loss.
“Kopech made so many great pitches and mixed them up great,” La Russa said. “He had so much command. When you see that, I don’t care how good the hitters are, they’re going to have a tough time.”
White Sox: After an off-day Monday, RHP Dylam Cease (4-1, 3.09 ERA) is penciled to start against the Boston Red Sox.
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (4-0, 2.89 ERA) pitches Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Orioles.