Yankees down White Sox for eighth straight win

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[April 18, 2017]  NEW YORK -- The last time the New York Yankees won eight in a row, Jordan Montgomery was a 19-year-old freshman pitching for the University of South Carolina in the midst of the pressure-packed College World Series.

A few mistakes and it could all end for Montgomery and his team.

Nearly five years later, Montgomery found himself on the mound Monday night at Yankee Stadium with the Yankees off to their best start in seven years and dealing with the pressure of facing major league hitters.

Montgomery kept it rolling by taking a shutout into the seventh inning, and Matt Holliday and Aaron Judge hit long home runs as New York ran its winning streak to eight games with a 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

"I know it's not pitching in Yankee Stadium, but pitching in the College World Series is a pretty big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "There's a lot of pressure and there's a lot of emotions. You have to learn how to control that. He had been through that and I felt that would help him."

"He pitched great," Holliday said. "He's got poise. He pitched at South Carolina. You get one of these people that comes from big-time college programs, he's got poise beyond his years. I'm sure he will credit that a lot to pitching in big games in the SEC for a school like South Carolina."

The Yankees are on their first eight-game winning streak since putting together 10 straight victories June 8-18, 2012. Three days after the streak ended, Montgomery combined on a three-hitter against Arkansas to keep South Carolina alive in the double-elimination tournament.

"It's pretty similar," Montgomery said. "I think I'm a little more mature now to go out there and know my game plan and know what I'm going to try to do."

There were no prospects of elimination Monday.

Instead, the Yankees wanted to see Montgomery produce better fastball command and more efficiency with his pitches in his second start after he threw 87 pitches in 4 2/3 innings Wednesday against Tampa Bay.

Montgomery produced both as he allowed three runs and seven hits in six-plus innings. He lost his shutout bid when Yolmer Sanchez hit a three-run homer on his 88th and final pitch, but he showed plenty to the Yankees, who first began noticing him during spring training.

"We knew he was a good young pitcher, but I think our plans were he was going to probably start in Triple-A, and continue to develop," Girardi said. "But he continued to pitch well and continued to shine and pitched his way through."

In his debut, Montgomery allowed a two-out, two-run homer to Rickie Weeks in the first inning. This time, he escaped trouble in the first by getting Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia with runners at second and third.

"First innings are always tough for me, I just got to settle in and find my tempo," Montgomery said.

Two innings after escaping trouble, Montgomery gained a 5-0 lead.

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Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (right) is congratulated after hitting a two run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Holliday hit a 459-foot, three-run homer off Derek Holland (1-2) over the visitor's bullpen and into the left-center field bleachers. Chase Headley made it 4-0 with a double down the left field line and scored on Aaron Judge's infield single to the hole at shortstop.

Two innings later, the Yankees led 7-0 on Judge's fourth home run, a 385-foot shot over the left-center field wall.

"They're a club that grinds out at-bats," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "They're a club that also, when they put a barrel on the baseball, they can hit it out of the ballpark. They did that today."

The only suspense occurred in the ninth when the White Sox made it 7-4 on Kevan Smith's double. It forced the Yankees to bring in Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman gave up a single to pinch-hitter Leury Garcia but on the next pitch notched his fourth save when Tyler Saladino hit into a double play.

While Montgomery pitched effectively, Holland turned in a subpar start for Chicago. Holland fell to 1-7 against the Yankees by allowing seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"I left the hitters leaving their eyes a little in sight," Holland said. "I have to make the adjustments. I wasn't getting the calls inside. I have to adjust to that. Overall, I didn't do a good job of executing the way I wanted to."

NOTES: Chicago 3B Todd Frazier (stomach flu) missed his second straight game. Manager Rick Renteria said Frazier is feeling better and able to hold down food. ... Before the game White Sox LHP Jose Quintana addressed offseason trade speculation about him coming to the Yankees by saying: "I heard a lot of rumors, but rumors are rumors, and I don't pay attention. I hear about a lot of things, but if you are a player, you don't have control over that." ... Yankees SS Didi Gregorius (strained right shoulder) still remains on target to start rehab games this week, though manager Joe Girardi did not know the exact date. ... The Yankees traded RHP Johnny Barbato to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations or a player to be named.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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