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Dayan Viciedo’s homer in 9th pushes White Sox past Yankees 4-3

Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees

Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees

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Updated: July 30, 2012 6:40AM

NEW YORK — The White Sox caught a break, and Dayan Viciedo made the New York Yankees pay.

Cashing in on lefty Clay Rapada’s bad throw on A.J. Pierzynski’s probable double-play tap to the mound in the ninth, the Sox erased a two-run deficit when Viciedo followed the mistake with a three-run homer that lifted the Sox to a 4-3 victory Thursday night.

For the Sox (41-35), it was a moving start to a four-game series featuring the American Central leaders and the East-leading Yankees (46-29). Rookie starter Dylan Axelrod allowed two runs over seven innings, rookie reliever Hector Santiago (2-1) got the win despite giving up Mark Teixeira’s solo homer in the eighth, and Addison Reed got his 11th save, holding his breath when Alex Rios went to the wall to catch Derek Jeter’s liner with the tying run on base.

As defining wins go, this one could loom large for the Sox, who gave themselves a strong shot at leaving New York with a split.

‘‘We’ll know that in a month,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘It depends on how you play after that. But these are nice. Good energy for the guys to come in here and get one like that. And it’s nice who it was, too [Viciedo] — somebody besides your big guys.’’

The Sox’ little guys, including the six rookie pitchers on their staff, are going to be part of their success story if they’re still hanging around first place in September.

Left-hander Leyson Septimo’s arrival from Class AAA Charlotte on Thursday brought the number of rookie pitchers on the White Sox to half the entire unit.

While that much inexperience puts a lot on Pierzynski’s plate, it has made catching as enjoyable as it’s ever been for the veteran, 35.

‘‘Having these young guys around has re-energized me and given me a different perspective of what it was like as a young guy learning and seeing all these things for the first time,’’ Pierzynski said.

Axelrod was the kid under Pierzynski’s care Thursday, starting under the bright lights of New York.

‘‘I tried to imagine it so it wouldn’t be a shock or anything,’’ Axelrod said. ‘‘I wasn’t that excited out of the ordinary. I was focused. I tried to stare at A.J.’s glove.’’

On Friday night, rookie Jose Quintana will look into Pierzynski’s mitt. When needed, rookies Reed, Santiago, Nate Jones, and now Septimo will, too.

Axelrod has been pressed into the rotation because of John Danks’ shoulder injury. He pitched out of some trouble early and finished with two clean innings.

‘‘We are just trying to find guys that are pitchers,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I don’t care if they are young, old, whatever. If we have issues with guys getting hurt, these are the guys we have.’’

‘‘[The Yankees are] a relentless group that takes pitches, sit on pitches. I thought [Axelrod] threw great. He had some innings with guys on, and he found a way to battle through it.’’

After failing to help Axelrod with his bat when he lined out to center field with Paul Konerko on third with no outs in the fourth, Pierzynski was so upset that he slammed his helmet in the dugout tunnel. Konerko didn’t attempt to score and was stranded when Rios was doubled off first on Viciedo’s liner to second baseman Robinson Cano.

Pierzynski had better luck in the ninth on the tapper to Rapada. Viciedo homered to left against David Robertson to make it 4-3 Sox. The Yankees were avoiding using closer Rafael Soriano, who had pitched in four of their last five games.

Alejandro De Aza had four hits for the Sox, including a homer against starter Ivan Nova in the fifth. Viciedo’s blast was among the bigger ones of the Sox’ season.

‘‘I was thinking fastball down the middle,’’ Viciedo said. “Anything in the vicinity. ‘‘I wasn’t really trying to swing for the fences . . . just trying to make good contact.’’

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