The New York Yankees are running out of time to make up ground in the AL wild-card race, but their current winning streak is a good start.
They’ll seek a fourth straight victory and a three-game sweep of the visiting Chicago White Sox, who hope Chris Sale can help them avoid a sixth straight defeat Sunday.
New York (66-61) trails Seattle by 3 1/2 games for the second wild card, likely its best shot at the postseason as it faces a large deficit behind AL East-leading Baltimore.
The Yankees have won five of seven after beating the White Sox 5-3 on Saturday. Carlos Beltran returned after missing the last three games and went 2 for 4 with a homer, while Martin Prado had three hits and drove in a pair of runs.
"What is important is just being able to come to the ballpark every day and find a way to be in the lineup," said Beltran, who is dealing with an elbow injury. "I’m just thinking about winning ballgames."
New York scored more than four runs for the first time in 11 games, but it hasn’t had much success against Sale (10-3, 2.12 ERA). He’s 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 28 1-3 innings over four career starts against the Yankees.
He gave up one hit and struck out 10 in six scoreless innings of Chicago’s 3-2 home victory May 22. His only start at Yankee Stadium was Sept. 3, when he gave up three runs – two earned – in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-4 loss.
Sale is 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in seven road starts, but he’s coming off an 8-2 home defeat to Baltimore on Monday in which he allowed three runs and threw 121 pitches in six innings. He also gave up two homers after allowing one over his previous seven starts.
He’s thrown at least 100 pitches in 18 of his 20 outings.
"You have a plan you want to execute," Sale said. "Sometimes teams come in and they do what they did (Monday) against me."
Sale will be opposed by Chris Capuano, who is still searching for his first victory since joining the Yankees in late July.
Capuano (1-3, 4.35) is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in five starts for New York. He’s allowed four runs in three of those outings, including over his 5 1-3 innings of work in a 7-4 loss to Houston on Tuesday.
It marked the first time Capuano pitched fewer than six full innings.
"It’s frustrating," he said. "The command wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked it to have been in those last two innings. I started leaving some balls out over the middle."
The left-hander made relief appearances against Chicago on April 15 and 16 while with Boston, pitching 2 2-3 scoreless innings and earning a victory. Capuano’s only start against the White Sox came in 2012 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, when he gave up one run in eight innings of Chicago’s 2-1 win.
The White Sox haven’t scored more than three runs during a losing streak that is currently tied for a season worst. Jose Abreu had two hits and an RBI on Saturday after hitting a three-run homer in Friday’s series opener. He’s batting .400 in his last eight.
"You have to continue to grind and get some runs in," manager Robin Ventura said. "You have to put some crooked numbers late and you get a better chance."
The White Sox have lost seven of nine overall against New York and seven straight in the Bronx.