NEW YORK -- A bad night all around for the New York Yankees as they lose Friday to the Chicago White Sox 5-2. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays in Toronto, putting another game between them and the Yankees in the AL East race. Now, the Yankees are four games back with nine to play and it's time to start thinking about that wild-card game on Oct. 6.
The Yankees got only six hits -- and only one timely one -- hit into four double plays, and had reason once again to shudder when anyone other than Andrew Miller or Dellin Betances comes out of their bullpen. (In fairness, Andrew Bailey looked good, pitching 1 1/3 perfect innings with two strikeouts).
The only saving grace for Yankees fans is that more than half the announced crowd of 37,316 was long gone by the time ex-Yankees closer David Robertson came on to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, notching his 32nd save.
So-So Sabathia: After three straight good starts since returning from the DL, Sabathia reverted a bit Friday, allowing four runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Two of the runs came on long solo home runs in the seventh. Sabathia didn't get much help from his offense, but there was a lot of hard contact off him by the relatively anemic White Sox lineup.
Wild man: The Yankees got seven free baserunners -- five walks and two hit batters -- plus a wild pitch out of Carlos Rodon, but the White Sox starter got through six innings allowing just two runs and left with a 4-2 lead. The Yankees got a runner to second base on Rodon five times in the game -- in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings -- but could only capitalize once (see below). Hitting into three double plays didn't help matters. They hit into a fourth DP in the eighth after getting a leadoff walk (No. 6) from reliever Zach Duke.
Olt, no!: The White Sox took a 3-2 lead when third baseman Mike Olt, a September callup, belted a 2-1 fastball into the second deck in left off Sabathia leading off the seventh inning. It was the team-leading 27th home run allowed by Sabathia, but the first hit off him since Aug. 23.
Belt it like Beckham: Two batters after Olt's homer, Sabathia surrendered another, even longer one to Gordon Beckham, who jumped on a 1-2 two-seamer and sent it screaming into the left center-field seats, giving Chicago a 4-2 lead.
Yes siree: The Yankees were held hitless for the first three innings, then got four hits in the fourth, including Didi Gregorius' two-run single that scored Brian McCann (bloop single) and Chris Young (infield hit) and tied the score at 2.
Not so fast: They play a rather annoying whistle at Yankee Stadium when an opposing hitter strikes out, and someone pulled the trigger prematurely on a 1-1 pitch to Avisail Garcia in the third inning. It was only strike two,, which was bad enough. What was worse was that Garcia lined the next pitch into left, scoring Trayce Thompson from second with the Chisox's second run of the game. The inning ended when Garcia was erased in a rather messy rundown trying to stretch the single into a double.
Coulda been worse: After an easy eight-pitch first inning, Sabathia allowed a second-inning run but was lucky he didn't give up more after loading the bases with two out. The Chisox cobbled together a run on a leadoff single by Melky Cabrera and a one-out double by Alexei Ramirez. After Sabathia struck out Olt, he loaded the bases on a walk to Tyler Flowers and a pitch that grazed the leg of Beckham that flipped the lineup. But Sabathia got leadoff hitter Adam Eaton to tap out to Greg Bird at first to strand three runners and limit the damage to a single run.