4 homers back Tanaka in homestand finale

4 homers back Tanaka in homestand finale

NEW YORK -- The Yankees combined tape-measure thunder with a Masahiro Tanaka gem to put the finishing touches on an impressive first homestand, breezing to a 9-1 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Starlin Castro and Aaron Judge whipped their teammates into a frenzy with back-to-back homers in the fifth inning off rookie Dylan Covey. Chase Headley and Aaron Hicks also went deep for the surging Yanks, who won eight of nine games in their best home showing since July 2009.

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"We came here and played in front of our fans," said Judge, whose 448-foot blast was the third-longest at Yankee Stadium in the Statcast™ era. "There was a lot of energy in this stadium the whole homestand. I think we just kind of fed off that, and our pitching staff came out and did what they did. I think collectively as a team, we just did our job."

Statcast: Judge's 448-foot homer

The healthy run support helped Tanaka pick up his second victory of the year on a night when his best stuff seemed to be absent. The first four innings were a grind for the right-hander, who settled in to hold the White Sox to Jose Abreu's RBI double over seven innings while striking out six.

"He cleaned up his pitches," catcher Austin Romine said. "His slider was a little tighter, his split was real good. That was the best I've seen his split this year. The fastball command was there, other than a couple of pitches. Overall I thought he did pretty well."

Tanaka fans six over seven

Covey was blasted for eight runs in five innings, accepting his first career loss in his second start. It marked the most earned runs allowed by a White Sox starter since Anthony Ranaudo gave up nine last Sept. 4 against the Twins.

"Obviously today didn't go the way I wanted it to go," Covey said. "But you kind of have to take it like it is and learn from the mistakes. Come back the day after tomorrow and put work in to get better. Just get better with all my pitches."

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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Green-light swinging: Judge's 448-foot moonshot dropped jaws around the ballpark, but it was Castro's rip on a 3-0 pitch from Covey that busted the game open. Castro's third home run of the season rocketed off the infielder's bat at 107.5 mph and traveled 407 feet into the visiting bullpen, according to Statcast™, continuing a hot start that has seen him grab the team lead in hits (21). It was Castro's first career homer on a 3-0 count, and the first by a Yankee since Brian McCann on May 8, 2015, against the Orioles.

Castro's three-run home run

"I think with Judge behind me, [Covey] doesn't want to walk me to pitch to him," Castro said. "He missed all three pitches, and I'm just looking for a pitch that I can drive. He gave me a fastball right in the middle. When you have the green light, you have to take it, because it might be the only pitch that you can see all night."

Chances aplenty: White Sox designated hitter Cody Asche came to the plate with two runners on base in the second, fourth and sixth, but he could not deliver in any of those situations. Asche grounded into the rare 6-4-5 double play with two on and nobody out in the second, struck out in the fourth and flied out to left in the sixth. The left-handed hitter has two hits in 29 at-bats this season.

QUOTABLE
"It was a while from the last time I heard that sound when I hit the ball. Besides the loss, I think it was a good game for me. I hit the ball the way I used to do it, and that's a step forward. We lost, but in the individual part, it was good." -- Abreu, on his three hits breaking a 0-for-19 funk

Abreu's RBI double

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Avisail Garcia drew two walks and has now reached base in all 14 games this season. Wednesday marked the second game this season in which Garcia did not have a hit. He has a batting average of .423 and an on-base percentage of .483.

WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: After Thursday's off-day, the White Sox return home to face the Indians on Friday night at 7:10 CT. Jose Quintana searches for his first victory after three defeats, with Corey Kluber starting for the Tribe.

Yankees: Following an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees open a three-game series against the Pirates on Friday at PNC Park, marking the Bombers' first trip to Pittsburgh since 2008. CC Sabathia (2-0, 1.47 ERA) draws the call in the opener opposite Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 12.15 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.