Although the Yankees saw their eight-game winning streak stopped Tuesday, they are ahead of schedule when compared to last season.
The Yankees go for their 10th win of the season Wednesday night when they conclude a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
New York (9-5) lost for the first time since April 8 when it mustered only four infield hits and did little against right-hander Miguel Gonzalez on Tuesday, leading to a 4-1 Chicago victory. The Yankees also missed a chance to open up 8-0 at home for the first time since 1987.
"We tried some different approaches, and we just never got anything going," New York manager Joe Girardi said.
Still, despite the quiet night by the bats, the Yankees are feeling better about things than a year ago when they stumbled toward a 9-17 start.
The early success is a continuation of the final months of last season and spring training. The Yankees are 32-14 at home since July 17, 40-31 overall since July 31, and the hot start is occurring after they posted a 24-9 exhibition record.
Asked before Tuesday's game if the team is over-performing, Girardi said, "I don't think so. We played really well in spring training, too. I think it's a continuation. I felt we played pretty well the last two months of the year."
Chicago (7-6) has won five of its past seven games. After Gonzalez's outstanding showing, the White Sox have held opponents to two runs or fewer seven times this season and to six hits or fewer seven times.
Also helping matters for the White Sox is Avisail Garcia's bat. Garcia leads the majors with a .440 average after hitting a long three-run home run off Luis Severino in the seventh inning Tuesday.
Garcia is the only Chicago hitter to reach base in every game, and he is 13-for-32 (.406) with two home runs and eight RBI on the road trip.
"He's been good for a while now, but I think he's still just trying to make good contact," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Now he seems to be driving the ball a little bit more, which is good to see. But he's a strong young man that if he puts the bat on the ball and he does it well, he's got a chance to drive the ball."
Garcia is rolling while Jose Abreu is slumping. Abreu is hitless in his past 19 at-bats and is 2-for-31 on the trip.
Garcia and the White Sox hitters will attempt to get their hits Wednesday off Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 8.36 ERA).
Tanaka struggled in his first two starts but rebounded Friday against St. Louis, when he allowed three earned runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"I do feel I am making the right strides," Tanaka said through an interpreter Friday.
Tanaka takes a seven-game winning streak at home into Wednesday's game. He is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in three starts against the White Sox.
After getting the outstanding outing from Gonzalez, the White Sox turn to Dylan Covey (0-0, 1.69 ERA).
In his major league debut Friday at Minnesota, Covey allowed one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"I'm sure it's going to be something," Renteria said of Covey starting at Yankee Stadium. "Obviously an organization that's got a huge history. I go back to the 'Hoosiers' story -- it's 60 feet, 6 inches and still 90 feet to the bases, and he still has to pitch strikes. This is the big leagues. If you make a mistake, most big-leaguers make you pay for it. But if he makes his pitches, he's also able to get some outs."