Johnny Couto was brilliant in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees.
Michael Kopech was even better in Game 2 as the Chicago White Sox beat the Yankees 3-1 and 5-0 to win the Twinbills.
“What a day,” said Sox manager Tony La Russa.
Cueto allowed six hits in more than six scoreless innings at Yankee Stadium, but was not a factor in the decision. The Sox gave up a late lead to answer with two in the ninth for a Game 1 win.
Kopech retired the first 17 batsmen in Game 2. Rob Brantley broke the game right in the sixth with a two out double.
“I felt like everything was working today,” said Kopech, who lowered his IRA to 1.29. “This is the first time this season that this has happened. It was nice to be out there and feel confident with every pitch I bowled.
“I try to be perfect every time and I know that’s never going to happen, but I think if I can get into the game as deep as I can, I’ll be in a good position .more I was able to do it for a long time.”
Kopech – who returned from the paternity leave list after the birth Friday of his second son, Wender – allowed one hit with six strikeouts and two walks in seven scoreless innings.
“Kopech made some great pitches and mixed them really well,” La Russa said. “He had so much command. When you look at it, I don’t care how good the hitters are, he’s going to have a tough time.”
The Sox scored five runs with two outs on the eighth hit of an RBI by Andrew Vaughan and Reese McGuire and a three-run home run by shortstop Tim Anderson – their third hit of the game.
La Russa said of Anderson, “This guy is as good as anyone playing in that position and one of the best players in baseball.”
Vaughn came up with two outs, a single in the center against Jonathan Loisiga to bring Jose Abreu home. McGuire brought on Adam Engel, along with another single.
Anderson – who was booed overnight by Yankees fans after Saturday’s words with Josh Donaldson and a bench-clearing incident – then made it home against Miguel Castro.
“Tim is going to be ready to play every day and lead this team,” Kopech said. “And he did it again tonight.”
In the first game, AJ Pollock put the Sox ahead in ninth and left Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman on a 1–0 fastball with a leadoff homer.
“You have to live less than that,” said Pollock. “He’s got some good velocity, a good cut on his fastball, so just trying to hit a line drive and it worked.”
Vaughan drew a one-out walk, moving to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball, before Engel scored the double, making it 3–1. Liam Hendrix scored two runs in a perfect ninth for his 13th defense.
It was a fine bounce-back performance by the Sox as the Yankees tied the score at 1 in the eighth, when Aaron Judge dropped on a 0-2 sinker against reliever Kendall Graveman.
The Yankees scored two runs with one in the innings, but Graveman counterattacked to bring Donaldson to the center and Aaron Hicks in third.
“Most of the times you do that, (you) lose your concentration and there’s another run on the board,” La Russa said of Graveman. “He got a zero later, giving us a chance to win.”
Quito quickly put the Sox in an excellent position.
“I had a good grip on all my pitches today and they had great pace and I was able to find them up and down the field,” Cueto, who received fluids after Game 1, said in a statement. “That was the key to keeping the Yankees in balance today.”
The Sox went 1-0 up on an RBI single by Yasmani Grandal in the fourth.
And Kyuto did the “dealing”, as Pollock put it. He scored five runs and scored two runs in a 95-pitch outing.
Pollock said, ‘He has been fantastic for us. “Works fast and has all kinds of pitches to balance them out. Shimmy Shake (delivery). It’s great to play behind him. It’s great to have him out there for the first game of the doubleheader because of the tone he set for us. ,
According to STATS, at the start of his stint with the team since 1974, Cueto made 12 scoreless innings, the third-longest streak for a Sox starter. Ken Brett played 17 innings in 1976 and Jack McDowell 13 in 1987.
Cueto allowed two hits and scored seven in six scoreless innings against the Royals.
“He’s an artist,” said La Russa. “It’s fun watching him pitch a game. And that’s what he has been, an excellent starting pitcher, because he gives you a different look four times in a game.
Cueto was out after allowing two singles to start the seventh. Joe Kelly dismissed Marvin Gonzalez, picked up Hicks on second and dismissed Jose Trevino to maintain a one-run lead.
“Kelly was absolutely right,” said La Russa.
The Yankees got a run in the eighth, but Pollock delivered the Sox with a big hit in the ninth that La Russa called a “hard-earned” victory.
The Sox built a two-on-two on Sunday with more stellar pitching and clutch hitting.
“It just shows that we have that,” Vaughan said, “and we just have to keep going and build on it.”