Eduardo Nunez's two-run double capped a five-run eighth inning that rallied the New York Yankees past the Chicago White Sox 6-4 on Tuesday night for a crucial victory as they chase an AL playoff berth.
Derek Jeter got the Yankees started on a vintage comeback, and pinch hitter Curtis Granderson tied the score with an RBI single. New York, which began the day 2½ games out of a wild-card spot, won for the 12th time in 14 home games to improve to 16-7 in its last 23 overall.
Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run triple and Alejandro De Aza homered to build a three-run lead for All-Star Chris Sale, but the last-place White Sox couldn't hold it. They dropped their fifth straight to start a 10-game trip against AL East contenders.
Sale was cruising along with a 4-1 lead until Jeter singled with one out in the eighth and Robinson Cano drove a 1-2 pitch off the left-field fence for a double — the third extra-base hit off the ace by a left-handed batter all season.
That got the crowd back in it and took Sale out of the game.
Alfonso Soriano grounded an 0-2 delivery from Nate Jones (4-5) up the middle for a two-run single that cut it to 4-3. Alex Rodriguez's single put runners at the corners, and Granderson lined a tying single off left-hander Donnie Veal.
Mark Reynolds struck out before Nunez roped a double off Matt Lindstrom into the left-field corner, putting New York ahead 6-4 in a half-inning that lasted 32 minutes.
Boone Logan (5-2) pitched a perfect eighth, and Mariano Rivera got three quick outs for his 40th save.
Jeter finished with two hits, giving him 3,315 to pass Eddie Collins (3,313) for ninth on the career list.
With the score tied at 1, De Aza hit a leadoff single in the fifth and stole second before Gordon Beckham drew an 11-pitch walk. One pitch after he was dusted by Hiroki Kuroda's 93 mph fastball, Ramirez pulled a sharp grounder inside third base and past a diving Rodriguez.
Soriano had trouble tracking down the ball in the left-field corner, allowing Ramirez to make it all the way to third. Kuroda escaped further damage when Ramirez was doubled off on Paul Konerko's soft liner to shortstop.
De Aza hit his 15th homer on a 1-2 pitch in the seventh, chasing Kuroda.
The 38-year-old righty, who had been hit hard in three straight losses on the road, gave up four runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings against the American League's lowest-scoring team. He struck out seven and walked two.
Beckham snapped out of a 7-for-54 slump (.130) with a double in the first inning. He scored on a single by Adam Dunn, who ended a 6-for-50 slide (.120).
Chicago was set up with the bases loaded and one out, but Kuroda fanned Avisail Garcia and got Conor Gillaspie to chase a full-count fastball that was up around his eyes.
New York tied it with an unearned run in the second after a pair of White Sox errors, one by Beckham at second base.
Vernon Wells reached on an infield single and scored on the front end of a double steal. With runners at the corners and two outs, Eduardo Nunez took off for second and stopped in the middle of the basepath when catcher Josh Phegley threw down.
Wells slid in feet first ahead of a return throw from Beckham that was a little wide.
Beckham, however, made nice defensive plays to end the third and fifth with a runner on each time.
NOTES: After the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said struggling RHP Phil Hughes will be moved to the bullpen. LHP David Huff will start Saturday against Boston. ... One day after the season ended for Triple-A Charlotte, the White Sox called up RHP Erik Johnson, RHP Daniel Webb, C Miguel Gonzalez and INF Marcus Semien. ... The 23-year-old Johnson will start Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, his major league debut. CC Sabathia (12-11, 4.91 ERA) pitches for New York. Drafted in the second round two years ago out of California, Johnson went 12-3 with a 1.96 ERA in 24 starts combined at Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham this season. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura said the team is likely to go with a "modified" six-man rotation the rest of the way, depending on how Johnson does. The idea is to keep the starters fresh and take a look at youngsters. ... White Sox LHP Jose Quintana, pulled after a long rain delay Monday, is scheduled to start again Thursday night in Baltimore. Quintana threw only 20 pitches Monday and still took the loss. LHP Hector Santiago was pushed back to Saturday. ... Jeter was hit by a pitch in the lower left leg his first time up but waved off trainer Steve Donohue. ... Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki were rested against Sale, who had held left-handed hitters to a .140 average with 42 strikeouts in 129 at-bats this season.