Garcia-led White Sox open series with streaking Yanks
NEW YORK — The New York Yankees are the hottest team in baseball, and Chicago White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia is the hottest hitter in the major leagues.
Those forces collide Monday night at Yankee Stadium when New York attempts to extend its winning streak to eight games in the opener of a three-game series with the White Sox.
Garcia leads the majors with a .465 average after going 4-for-5 with a 10th-inning, two-run home run in a 3-1 win at Minnesota on Sunday.
“I’m just trying to stay inside the ball,” Garcia said. “The good hitters hit to the other part of the field. That’s what (former teammate Miguel Cabrera) does all day. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Garcia is the only Chicago hitter to reach safely in all 11 games this season, and in seven games, he has reached multiple times. In his past eight games, Garcia is batting .484 (15-for-31).
“I think he’s simplifying it and trying to keep his approach in a particular way; trying not to do too much,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. “I think he’s focusing on just making good contact.”
In 17 career games against the Yankees, Garcia is hitting .210 (13-for-62) with two home runs, seven RBIs and 23 strikeouts. In 11 games at Yankee Stadium, he is hitting .250 (10-for-40).
The first Yankees pitcher Garcia will face will be left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who did enough in his major league debut Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays to warrant a second start.
Montgomery allowed three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings for a no-decision in New York’s 8-4 win. While he did not possess superior fastball command at times, he still struck out seven and recorded 17 swings-and-misses with a deceptive overhand delivery.
“I think that’s the deception that comes with it,” Montgomery said. “Guys don’t see that arm angle very often. They’re just not used to seeing the ball coming out there, at the angle it’s coming out at.”
Montgomery (0-0, 3.86 ERA) will be trying to help the Yankees win eight straight for the first time since June 8-18, 2012. During New York’s last eight-game winning streak, Montgomery was pitching as a freshman in the College World Series for the University of South Carolina.
New York’s starters have a 2.54 ERA during their winning streak, which continued when Michael Pineda allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings in a 9-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night. Greg Bird ended an 0-for-20 skid with a two-run home run.
“Our pitching has been really good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Starters have done a tremendous job in this streak.”
Chicago has won four of the last five games. The White Sox head to New York after Garcia’s big day helped them win for the second time in three games at Minnesota.
“We’ve been playing some good baseball all year long,” White Sox right-hander James Shields said. “We’ve been in pretty much every single game, and we’re fighting hard, one through nine.”
The White Sox also will be turning to a left-handed starter, as Derek Holland (1-1, 1.50 ERA) makes his third start.
Holland held the Indians without a hit for five-plus innings Wednesday. He lost his no-hit bid at Cleveland when Francisco Lindor led off the sixth with a double.
Injuries limited Holland in recent seasons when he was with the Texas Rangers, and he did not face the Yankees the past three years.
Holland is 1-6 with a 6.59 ERA in 10 appearances (nine starts) against the Yankees. At Yankee Stadium, he is 1-3 with a 5.97 ERA in six appearances (five starts).
His two-best showings against the Yankees occurred in 2013.
On June 27, 2013 in New York, he fired a two-hitter and faced two above the minimum. On July 25, 2013 in Texas, he allowed two runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings of a 2-0 loss.
The White Sox played Sunday without Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera.
Frazier, who is hitting .111 (4-for-27), exited Saturday after a fourth-inning strikeout due to flu-like symptoms. He may be out again Monday.
Cabrera was on the paternity list for the series in Minnesota but is expected to return Monday.
New York played its past two games without Matt Holliday (lower back tightness). Holliday is expected to play Monday.