By the end of the seventh, it was as good as over.
The Yankees — who quickly shot out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning — suffered a 10-5 loss to the White Sox on Friday night after a messy four-run seventh inning. In the past two days, they have lost two games to Boston in the division standings and are now 1 1/2 games ahead in the AL East.
Starter Sergio Mitre took the mound for the Yankees but was gone after the third. He surrendered five runs on seven hits and was replaced by David Robertson, who allowed one run in two innings of work.
Then, Alfredo Aceves let things go.
He got through the sixth inning without incident, but in the seventh, he allowed a two-run single to Chris Getz, which moved Jayson Nix over to third. The nimble shortstop stole home while Getz stole second, and then Getz came around on a single by Scott Podsednik.
White Sox hurler D.J. Carrasco did not fare much better than Mitre, allowing five runs on nine hits in four innings — but Chicago's bullpen held New York's formidable lineup at bay until the bats came through.
New York got on the board early in the first, beginning with Mark Teixeira's RBI double. Johnny Damon scored on a fielder's choice, and Teixeira made it 3-0 on Hideki Matsui's single.
The Sox got a run back in the bottom of the first on an A.J. Pierzynski double, then went up 4-3 in the second on Gordon Beckham's sacrifice fly and Jim Thome's two-run single. They took a 5-3 lead on a fifth-inning solo shot by Carlos Quentin.
Octavio Dotel earned the hold for Chicago — his 12th of the season — and Scott Linebrink closed things out after working around two hits and a walk.