Thurman's Debut Successful as Yanks Down White Sox

At the start of the season, the New York Yankees thought they had their pitching rotation set, with one of the deepest, albeit oldest starting five in the league. But with David Wells coming off of a back injury, Andy Pettite recovering from an injured elbow, El Duque on the injured list yet again, and Adrian Hernandez demoted to the minors, Mike Thurman got the call to start Monday night, and he did not disappoint.

Thurman received an early six run cushion before he even threw a pitch, and wound up pitching seven effective innings, giving up just two earned runs to give him his first victory as a Yank.

The Yanks struck early and often, as they abused White Sox starter Dan Wright for six runs in the top of the first inning. With Alfonso Soriano unavailable due to injury, Derek Jeter took a page from Soriano's play book as he led off by smacking the first pitch of the game down the third base line for a leadoff double. After a walk by Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams ripped an RBI double down the first base line, scoring Jeter, while advancing Giambi to third. Rondell White followed with a two run single, and John Vander Wal drew a walk, which set the stage for young rookie Nick Johnson. Behind in the count 1-2, Johnson crushed the next pitch deep into the right field seats, capping a huge six run inning.

Bernie Williams also homered for the Yanks in the second inning, the second of three hits for Williams. He almost hit for the cycle, getting a double in the first, a homer in the second, a two run single in the sixth, but lined out to an outstretched Jeff Leifer in left field in his last at bat.

Even with a six run lead, Thurman looked a bit shaky early on, as he struggled to get through the first few innings. In the first, he got out of trouble with three Sox reaching base in the inning. Alberto Castillo gunned down speed demon Kenny Lofton, and Paul Konerko grounded into an inning ending double play.

In the second, Liefer drove home Jose Valentin for the White Sox's first run of the game, and in the third, Frank Thomas singled to right center field, which scored Ray Durham. But Thurman settled down after the first three innings, retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.

One negative aspect of the game for the Yanks was the pitching of Sterling Hitchcock, who relieved Thurman in the eighth inning. In less than two innings of work, Hitchcock gave up four hits and four runs, including a home run by Frank Thomas. Steve Karsay closed out the game for the Yanks, striking out Maggilo Ordonez to end the ball game.

For the Yanks, lefty Ted Lilly (1-4, 2.93) will face off against righty Jon Garland (5-3, 5.10) in game two of the three game series.

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