NEW YORK – Erik Johnson bowed his head in frustration and kicked at the dirt on the mound at Yankee Stadium in the first inning Wednesday night.
Johnson’s major league debut against a veteran Yankees lineup started with two outs before Robinson Cano gave the 23-year-old White Sox right-hander a reality check with a solo home run to right field.
The Yankees had more aggravation in store for Johnson in a four-run fourth inning that fueled their 6-5 victory over the Sox.
Johnson, who was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday, lasted six innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out one as the Sox suffered their second straight series sweep and their sixth straight loss. Aside from the two rough innings, Johnson faced just 13 batters in his other four innings.
The Sox mounted an eighth-inning comeback but couldn’t complete it.
After Cano’s home run in the first, Johnson walked two and allowed a double to the next three batters before striking out Ichiro Suzuki to escape the bases-loaded jam.
In the fourth inning, Ichiro knocked a pitch to Johnson, who scooped it up but threw it too softly to first baseman Jeff Keppinger. Ichiro reached on Johnson’s throwing error, and Alex Rodriguez advanced to second. Lyle Overbay then hit an RBI double and Brett Gardner added a two-run triple to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
Cano added an RBI single with two outs that deflected off Johnson’s glove and behind him, allowing Cano to reach base and Gardner to score. Alfonso Soriano added an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the seventh off reliever Daniel Webb, who was making his major league debut.
They mounted a comeback off Yankees starter CC Sabathia and reliever David Robertson in the eighth.
Garcia had an RBI single, Josh Phegley had a two-run single and Marcus Semien added an RBI single before Yankees closer Mariano Rivera entered to turn the boos at Yankee Stadium into cheers.
Semien recorded a hit in his first major league at-bat, a single that dropped in short center field in the second inning. He struck out in his next two at-bats before the eighth-inning RBI.