NEW YORK -- Mike Olt and Gordon Beckham cracked seventh-inning home runs off CC Sabathia as the White Sox rallied for a 5-2 victory over the Yankees on Friday evening at Yankee Stadium.
The loss, combined with Toronto's win over the Rays, dropped the Yankees to four games back of the first-place Blue Jays in the American League East with nine games remaining. The Bombers sits 4 1/2 games ahead of the Astros for the top AL Wild Card.
"We're certainly not giving up on it, but it's a tall task," Yankees infielder Chase Headley said. "We're going to play as hard as we possibly can, worry about what we can control. We can't control what they do. First and foremost, we have to go out and win each night, and we weren't able to do that tonight."
Carlos Rodon worked six innings and held New York to a pair of runs on five hits despite issuing five walks, hitting two batters and throwing a wild pitch. Rodon was able to limit the damage by inducing the Yankees to hit into two double plays; New York bounced into an additional pair of twin killings against the White Sox bullpen.
"We had a few of those that really get you out of a bind," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "These guys can put pressure on you if they get guys on base. They're not a big stolen-base team, so if you can get the ball on the ground, you have a chance to turn them."
The homers were the first allowed by Sabathia since his return from the disabled list, a span of three starts, and tied his career high for a single season with 28. Alexei Ramirez and Avisail Garcia also drove in runs against Sabathia, who was charged with his first loss since Aug. 12.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Exit on a high note: Rodon wasn't as sharp as his last couple of starts against Cleveland, throwing just 49 of his 91 pitches for strikes. But he limited the damage by inducing double plays to end the fourth and sixth innings. This appears to be the rookie's last start of the season, and he finished with eight straight quality starts.
"I felt comfortable out there," Rodon said. "It might not seem like when you have guys on base pretty much the whole start and you walk five, but luckily, defensively we had guys behind me making plays and turning double plays. Without them, I wouldn't be standing here with a win right now." More >
Didi drives in a pair: The Yanks were hitless against Rodon through three innings before getting something cooking in the fourth, as Brian McCann lifted a bloop single to right field and Chris Young legged out an infield hit. After a flyout and a walk, Gregorius tied the game, lining a two-run single to right field, but the Yankees were unable to produce more.
"We hit some double-play balls," manager Joe Girardi said. "A couple important ones with runners in scoring position, and that was the biggest problem. Rodon's got really good stuff and he gets a lot of ground balls. At their place, we were able to stay away from it. Tonight, we didn't."
Run-halting grab:Trayce Thompson showed off his offensive ability Thursday night with a long homer to left, and on Friday, he made a leaping catch of Greg Bird's liner in right. The catch came with runners on first and second, saving at least one run, but both came around to score later in the frame on Gregorius' single.
CC bends early: Sabathia did a good job of limiting damage early before watching Olt and Beckham slug shots into the left-field seats. Sabathia managed to pin the bases loaded by inducing Adam Eaton to ground out in the second and evaded trouble in the fourth, bailing out Headley after his team-leading 23rd error by getting Beckham to hit into an inning-ending double play.
"[I was] OK, but OK wasn't good enough to win," Sabathia said. "I have to be better, especially late in the game. I have to hold the score and keep us right there, give us a chance to win."
RETURN OF ROBERTSON David Robertson's last game pitched at Yankee Stadium was one year to the date of the save he recorded with a perfect ninth on Friday. It was an extremely memorable affair in that Derek Jeter walked off the Orioles with a single to right in his final home game.
And that hit was made possible because Robertson blew a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning.
"Obviously, that was my last outing here at Yankee Stadium and the baseball gods were against me that day," a smiling Roberton said. "They wanted to see Derek walk off with a base hit. It was a pretty incredible moment.
"Looking back on it now, I'm not mad about it at all. It stung at the time because I was so worried that I had just blown the game and we were going to go extra innings and Derek's not going to get called out [of the game] from short and get the applause he deserves in the ninth inning. Instead he got the place to erupt on a walk-off base hit."
Friday's lead also was 5-2, but Robertson called the return just business with a focus on the job he had to do. He did enjoy a closing eight-pitch at-bat with Brett Gardner that resulted in a game-ending flyout.
"Brett's a good friend of mine and I've seen him grind out some at-bats and I feel like he was doing it right there to me," Robertson said. "I wanted to strike him out and I'm sure he wanted to blast one out off me and instead we settled for a long flyout."
DENT IN THE DOMINANCE
Sabathia entered Friday's start with a 19-4 career mark against the White Sox. He last faced the White Sox on Sept. 4, 2013.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:John Danks (7-13, 4.59 ERA) makes his 29th start of the season and 15th on the road Saturday at Yankee Stadium. The veteran southpaw is 3-9 with a 5.80 ERA on the road this season and is 3-3 lifetime against the Yankees. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT.
Yankees:Adam Warren (6-7, 3.46 ERA) has made two starts since being reinstated to the rotation following Nathan Eovaldi's injury, going 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA against the Rays and Blue Jays. Warren should be cleared to throw 100 pitches after being limited to 82 his last time out. First pitch in the Bronx will be at 4:05 p.m. ET.