Montgomery gets 1st win, Yanks beat White Sox for 8th in row
NEW YORK (AP) — The way Jordan Montgomery keeps his cool on the mound, it’s hard to believe he’s a rookie.
The way the New York Yankees keep winning games lately, it’s easy to forget who they’re missing.
Montgomery took a shutout into the seventh inning for his first major league win, Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer in his return to the lineup and the Yankees romped to their eighth consecutive victory by beating the Chicago White Sox 7-4 on Monday night.
“We’ve just kind of found a nice rhythm and a nice recipe,” Holliday said.
The veteran slugger triggered a five-run third with a titanic shot into the raised bleachers beyond the left-center bullpen, his first career home run at Yankee Stadium. Aaron Judge added a two-run drive to chase Derek Holland (1-2) with the score 7-0 in the fifth.
Despite playing without injured catcher Gary Sanchez and shortstop Didi Gregorius, the Baby Bombers have rebounded from a 1-4 start with their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in June 2012.
“We’ve got guys in this room that can handle their business and are showing it,” backup catcher Austin Romine said. “They want that opportunity.”
Making his second career start, Montgomery (1-0) immediately found himself in a first-inning jam. But the 24-year-old lefty calmly pitched out of it by setting down slumping cleanup hitter Jose Abreu and streaking Avisail Garcia with runners at second and third.
“Just went out there and kind of stayed within myself,” said Montgomery, who pitched in the College World Series as a South Carolina freshman. “Hopefully the first of many, so I’m not trying to make too big a deal of it.”
Garcia began the night leading the majors with a .465 batting average, yet Montgomery never flinched.
“He’s got poise beyond his years,” Holliday said. “He’s got a very veteran demeanor to him.”
After scattering four hits over the first six innings, Montgomery gave up consecutive singles to start the seventh and then a three-run homer to Yolmer Sanchez, who finished with three hits.
That was it for the 6-foot-6 Montgomery, who jogged off the field to cheers.
“He showed that he is a very good pitcher and that he has the talent to pitch in the big leagues,” Abreu said through a translator.
Adam Warren replaced Montgomery and worked into the ninth. Warren gave up an RBI double to Kevan Smith before Aroldis Chapman earned his fourth save when Tyler Saladino grounded into a game-ending double play — the fourth turned by the Yankees.
Warren retired 22 straight batters to begin the season before issuing a two-out walk in the seventh.
Starlin Castro had three hits for New York, and Judge drove in three runs. Castro and Chase Headley hit successive doubles after Holliday’s homer, estimated at 459 feet.
Holliday missed the previous two games with lower back stiffness.
Judge added a run-scoring infield single to complete the outburst. New York has won its first seven home games for the first time since 1998.
Holland was tagged for 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings and fell to 1-7 with a 6.97 ERA against the Yankees. The left-hander allowed one hit over six scoreless innings last time out in Cleveland.
“I wasn’t getting the call inside,” Holland said. “I have to adjust to that. That’s on me.”
BIRD ON THE BENCH
Despite breaking out of his slump Sunday night with a huge game at the plate, Yankees 1B Greg Bird was left on the bench in favor of Chris Carter. Still, manager Joe Girardi insisted the team views Bird as an everyday player. “Holland’s really tough on left-handers,” Girardi explained. “So we got as many righties as we could today.” LF Brett Gardner also was rested as Girardi stacked his lineup with eight right-handed hitters underneath leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury. Bird struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.
White Sox: 3B Todd Frazier sat out again because of an illness manager Rick Renteria described as a “flu-like stomach irritation.” Renteria said Frazier was feeling better, though, and finally able to keep food down. … Bench coach Joe McEwing went to the mound and removed Holland. McEwing took on the task because Renteria was hobbled by knee inflammation.
Yankees: Gregorius (right shoulder strain) could play in a simulated game in the next few days. He is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment soon.
ON THE MOVE
New York traded Triple-A pitcher Johnny Barbato to the Pittsburgh Pirates for $150,000 or a player to be named. The right-hander made 13 major league relief appearances last year.
RHP Luis Severino (1-0) looks to extend New York’s winning streak Tuesday night when he faces RHP Miguel Gonzalez (1-0) in the second game of the series. The 23-year-old Severino set a career high with 11 strikeouts last time out against Tampa Bay, ending a string of 13 winless starts that dated to a victory over the White Sox in September 2015.