NEW YORK — Eloy Jiménez hit a pair of thunderous homers on a soggy night in the Bronx, likely the first of many connections for the powerful young slugger.
For the New York Yankees, staying above water is getting more difficult by the day.
Jiménez hit his first two major league homers, including a tiebreaking shot in the fifth inning, and the Chicago White Sox ended a five-game skid by beating the banged-up Yankees 9-6 in a rain-shortened game Friday.
Jiménez’s two-run drive off Jonathan Holder made it 7-5, and he added a 446-foot solo homer in the seventh. James McCann followed with his first homer of the season, and then umpires pulled the teams off the field with one out. The game was called about 40 minutes later.
“It feels good to get the first one out of the way,” Jiménez said. “Many to come.”
The Yankees have lost four straight and placed catcher Gary Sánchez on the 10-day injured list prior to the game with a strained left calf, the 12th New York player currently on the IL.
The team also revealed that right-handed reliever Dellin Betances, already among that achy dozen, will get a cortisone shot Saturday and miss another 6-7 weeks due to inflammation around a bone spur in his shoulder. The game was called while general manager Brian Cashman delivered that news in a press conference.
“Everything’s going my way right now,” Cashman deadpanned.
The game started in a steady mist, and the rain worsened as the night wore on.
Chicago starter Lucas Giolito (2-1) had a pitch sail out of his hands to the backstop in the fifth, and Yankees lefty J.A. Happ (0-2) bounced an unusual number of breaking balls.
“That was the worst conditions I ever pitched in in my life,” Giolito said. “I was just thinking about, it’s been a dream of mine to pitch in Yankee Stadium ever since I was a little kid and I didn’t envision it in pouring rain like that.”
White Sox right-hander Nate Jones also struggled with his grip while escaping a jam in the sixth, furiously wiping his hands on his damp uniform between each pitch. He nearly beaned Aaron Judge with a 95 mph fastball, then plunked him with an offspeed pitch to load the bases with two outs. Luke Voit lined out to left field to end that threat. Jones got one out and wound up with his first save.
New York dropped to 5-8 despite leading in 12 of 13 games this season.
The Yankees were ahead 4-1 after three, but Chicago erased that two innings later. Yonder Alonso hit a tying two-run homer off Happ in the fifth that skipped off the top of the wall in right field, and Jiménez connected two batters later against Jonathan Holder.
“I didn’t do my part tonight,” said Happ, who allowed six runs in four innings.
The 22-year-old Jiménez ranks among baseball’s top prospects because of his power potential. He signed a $43 million, six-year contract during spring training, nearly double the amount of the previous high for a player under club control yet to make his major league debut.
After his first homer, Jiménez shot his fist in the air rounding first base and performed an elaborate handshake with fellow youngster Yoan Moncada at home plate. He was mobbed with sunflower seeds and gum in the dugout.
“We’ve been waiting for that,” Giolito said. “He’s got ridiculous power.”
Chicago played its first night game this season after opening with 11 straight day tilts.
Brett Gardner had a solo homer for the Yankees, and DJ LeMahieu two hits, a walk and two RBIs. LeMahieu is batting .439 this season.
A DOZEN DOWN
Sánchez was surprised when an MRI on Thursday showed the strain, believing the tightness in his calf this week wouldn’t require him to miss more time. He is optimistic he will return when eligible.
More than half the Yankees starting lineup is hurt. Sánchez joined outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (strained left biceps) and Aaron Hicks (left lower back strain), shortstop Didi Gregorius (recovering from Tommy John surgery last October), third baseman Miguel Andújar (torn labrum in right shoulder) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (strained left calf) on the IL.