NEW YORK — Carlos Beltran is done talking about his elbow. All he’s focused on now is trying to help the Yankees make the playoffs.
Beltran gave New York’s struggling offense a jolt with a home run in his return to the lineup, Martin Prado had another go-ahead hit and the Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 on Aug. 23.
“It’s just an issue that I have there,” Beltran said about his elbow. “What is important is just being able to come to the ballpark every day and find a way to be in the lineup. … I’m just thinking about winning ballgames.”
Hiroki Kuroda (9-8) worked in and out of trouble for six innings, allowing two runs and five hits in helping the Yankees to their third straight win after a 2-7 stretch. New York remained 3 1/2 games behind Seattle for the second AL wild card.
Beltran missed the previous three games because of a sore right elbow that has almost exclusively limited him to a designated hitter role since May.
He singled and scored in the fourth, when the Yankees ran themselves out of a chance to break open the game, and led off the sixth with a drive off Scott Carroll (5-8) that just cleared the fence in right field.
Stephen Drew’s sacrifice fly in the sixth put New York up 5-2, the first time the Yankees had scored more than four runs since Aug. 8, a span of 11 games.
“We’re grinding out better at-bats,” catcher Brian McCann said.
David Robertson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 34th save. Yankees batters did not strike out in a game for the first time since May 12, 2011, in an 11-5 loss to Kansas City.
Alexei Ramirez had an RBI double in the second but Chicago wasted an early lead for the second straight day — matching a season high with its fifth loss in a row.
“You have to continue to grind and get some runs on,” White Sox Manager Robin Ventura said. “You have to put some crooked numbers late and you get a better chance.”
Prado hit a two-run double in the fourth that put New York up for good. He had a game-ending RBI single with two outs in the ninth on Aug. 22.
The Yankees squandered a chance for a big inning in the fourth, with Prado and Mark Teixeira getting caught in rundowns between second and third. New York had seven consecutive batters reach in the inning but scored only on Prado’s double.
McCann started the inning when left fielder Alejandro De Aza lost his routine fly in the sun, letting it drop for a leadoff double.
Carroll allowed five runs — four earned — and seven hits in six innings.
(HOWIE RUMBERG, AP Sports Writer)