(Reuters) - The Chicago White Sox outslugged the visiting New York Yankees 9-6 to snap a three-game losing streak and claim the series opener between the division leaders on Monday.
The White Sox showed they could keep pace with the Bronx Bombers, bashing three late home runs to get back on track after a surprise series sweep against the Kansas City Royals.
Trailing 6-5 in the sixth, Gordon Beckham hit the first of the three decisive blasts to tie the game.
Alexei Ramirez then followed up with a two-run shot in the seventh and Adam Dunn punctuated the Chicago victory in the next with his Major League-leading 36th homer of the season.
“Every game is important. What happened in Kansas City, we have to leave in the past,” Ramirez told reporters. “The race is so tight, every night is going to be important.”
The win stretched Chicago’s (66-55) American League Central lead to two games over Detroit, while New York’s (72-50) edge in the AL East was reduced to four games.
New York came out energized against Chicago and grabbed a 3-0 lead by the second only to fall behind 5-3 in the fifth, where the White Sox tallied a five-run inning.
But the Yankees regained their advantage in the sixth where Derek Jeter homered, Mark Teixeira delivered an RBI and the visitors put up three runs.
A red-hot Jeter, who had three hits on Sunday, finished four-for-five and tied Eddie Murray for 11th place on the career hits list (3,255).
Teixeira returned to the lineup after missing three games with a wrist injury and had two hits and two RBIs.
It was not good enough, though, against Chicago who attacked New York’s pitching staff.
“The bullpen struggled tonight,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters.
“It hasn’t been something they’ve done very often this year, so they’ll bounce back. You know it’s going to happen at times, but when it does, it kind of surprises you.”
Reliever Boone Logan gave up the go-ahead two-out homer to Ramirez in the seventh and took the loss.
Brett Myers pitched in the seventh for the White Sox and recorded the win.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien/Patrick Johnstona