CHICAGO (AP) — If the New York Yankees have to go with an opener, that’s just fine with manager Aaron Boone.
It has worked out quite well so far.
Chad Green struck out six in two dominant innings and Gleyber Torres hit a two-run homer, helping New York cool off the Chicago White Sox with an 8-4 win Saturday night.
Soon after the game ended, the Yankees announced they had acquired slugger Edwin Encarnación, who leads the AL with 21 home runs, in a trade with Seattle.
The Yankees have been battling Tampa Bay for control of the AL East for much of the season, and leapfrogged the Rays for first place with the win. Now, they have another big bat for their lineup, getting Encarnación for minor league pitcher Juan Then.
Speaking before the deal was announced, Yankees manager Aaron Boone declined comment. But asked about having room for another power hitter, Boone coyly responded “There’s always room for good players.”
Torres and Gary Sánchez each had three RBIs as New York won just the fourth time in its last 12 games.
The Yankees improved to 5-0 this year when employing an opener, with Green starting each one of those victories. The right-hander has a 3.52 ERA over 7 2/3 innings as a starter this season, versus a 9.60 ERA for his 17 appearances and 15 innings in relief.
“For me, it doesn’t really matter,” Green said. “It doesn’t matter if I throw the first or the sixth or seventh or fifth. It’s all kind of the same.”
New York went with Green after it placed Domingo Germán on the injured list last weekend with a left hip flexor strain. Boone said he would have no problem going with an opener again if it made sense for the team.
“It’s definitely a way we feel comfortable going out there knowing we can win a game doing it that way,” he said, “so we’ll just kind of do what our personnel lends itself to.”
Chicago had won five of six to get back to .500 for the first time since April 5. But it was unable to overcome another shaky performance by López (4-7), who permitted five runs and six hits in six innings after the start of the game was delayed 32 minutes by rain.
“Lopey, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted out of him,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He was hitting more spots today. His curveball wasn’t as good as we’d want it to be. He’s been working on that.”
Renteria and catcher Welington Castillo were ejected by umpire Phil Cuzzi for arguing balls and strikes in the top of the eighth. It was Castillo’s second career ejection.
James McCann replaced Castillo and hit a three-run homer off Jonathan Holder in the bottom half. But Eloy Jiménez struck out swinging to end the inning, and New York added another run in the ninth when Didi Gregorius walked with the bases loaded.
After Green departed, Nestor Cortes Jr. (1-0) pitched five-plus innings for his first major league win. The left-hander allowed two runs and six hits, struck out seven and walked none.
Boone said he planned to rest Gregorius on Sunday. Gregorius missed the start of the season after he had Tommy John surgery in October. The shortstop is batting .385 (10 for 26) in seven games since he returned June 7.
“I feel like he has responded well, feel like he’s moving pretty well,” Boone said, “and feel like overall he’s getting sharper and sharper with each inning.”
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (right shoulder inflammation) is getting stretched out as part of his throwing program. Boone said he isn’t sure when Severino will have his first bullpen session. “He’s moving in the right direction, but staying pretty disciplined to the progression,” Boone said. … Sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge continued their rehab stints with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Stanton played left field and went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Judge served as the designated hitter and went 0 for 4 during a 2-0 loss at Durham. Boone said he thinks Judge (strained left oblique) is going to play in the field Sunday.
White Sox: INF Yoán Moncada (upper back tightness) was out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game, but Renteria said he was doing much better. “We certainly hope to get him in the lineup tomorrow,” Renteria said.
Yankees left-hander James Paxton (3-3, 4.04 ERA) and White Sox right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne (0-1, 4.50 ERA) pitch Sunday in the finale of the four-game series.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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