NEW YORK — The White Sox have been over .500 for just one day this season, when they were 18-17 in mid-May. It has been clear for weeks that they would not reach the playoffs, so there was little suspense when they were mathematically eliminated Saturday with a 2-1 loss to the New York Yankees.
“Disappointing. We all expected more,” pitcher John Danks said. “This will definitely leave a sour taste in my mouth.”
The Sox had three singles in the first inning, when Jose Abreu drove in his 97th run. The Sox had only three baserunners after that, all on fifth-inning walks by Adam Warren (7-7), who escaped the jam by striking out Abreu.
“We knew that we had a very good team for the season, but also we had too many new faces,” Abreu said through a translator. “It was a little hard to try to build that chemistry. But I think that we’re building something good for next season.”
Danks (7-14, 4.53 ERA) held the Yankees to three singles until the sixth, when Jacoby Ellsbury singled leading off and stole second. Chase Headley doubled on a hop into the Sox bullpen in left-center, and Alex Rodriguez doubled when he hit a hard two-hop bouncer off the glove of third baseman Mike Olt, who tried for a backhand snare. The ball bounced into the seats as Headley scored for a 2-1 lead.
It’s been that type of season for the Sox, who will miss the playoffs for the ninth time in the 10 seasons since they won the World Series in 2005.
“Up until the last, probably, few weeks, I felt like we were just a run away,” Danks said. “We were plenty talented, had it in us, just had to go out there and play ball. I expected us to certainly be in the mix and get better.”
The Sox are 13th in homers, 14th in runs scored and 15th in slugging percentage. Saturday’s defeat dropped them to 73-82, ensuring their third straight losing record in four seasons under manager Robin Ventura.
“I think you look at it away from the field, but during the game it didn’t affect anything,” Ventura said of the elimination.
With one more victory, the Sox will improve their wins total from last year’s 73-89 record, which already was a big advance from 2013′s 63-99 mark — Chicago’s most losses since 1970.
“I would love to come back with the same guys, give it another go,” Danks said. “I’m glad I’m not a GM and have to make those decisions. But I think the pieces are here — I think guys that have had success in the big leagues, a lot of young talent coming up behind them.”
Warren lasted six innings and 88 pitches on an afternoon pitchers had an advantage with shadows caused by the 4:05 p.m. EDT start. Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller each pitched a perfect inning, with Miller getting his 36th save in 38 chances.
“He could locate his pitches in the sun, mixed them,” Abreu said of Miller. “I think it’s no secret we couldn’t hit him very hard.”
NOTES: Chris Sale (267 strikeouts), who needs three strikeouts to break Ed Walsh’s single-season club record of 269 set in 1908, will make one more start this season, possibly Friday against the Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field. Sale has worked 201 2/3 innings, compared to Walsh’s 464.
*Yankees relievers have struck out an AL record 573 batters, two more than the previous mark for bullpens set by New York last year.
*DH Adam LaRoche was back in the starting lineup after being given Friday off. LaRoche, who has a sore right knee, didn’t play between Sept. 13 and Thursday’s series opener.
*Melky Cabrera went 0 for 4, ending his 15-game hitting streak at new Yankee Stadium, the longest by an opposing player.
*Luis Severino (4-3) starts for the Yankees in Sunday’s series finale, and Erik Johnson (3-0) opens for the Sox. After Monday’s off day Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana and Danks are scheduled to pitch in the Sox home series against the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field Tuesday through Thursday. The Sox close the season with three games against the Tigers at home next weekend.
Contributing: Daryl Van Schouwen
How they scored:
White Sox first. Eaton singled to center. Eaton stole second. Abreu singled to right, Eaton scored. Me.Cabrera flied out to center fielder Ellsbury. T.Thompson singled to center, Abreu to second. LaRoche hit into a double play, second baseman Refsnyder to shortstop Gregorius to first baseman Bird, T.Thompson out.
1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. White Sox 1, Yankees 0.
Yankees sixth. Ellsbury singled to center. Ellsbury stole second. Headley doubled to center, Ellsbury scored. A.Rodriguez doubled to left, Headley scored. Beltran fouled out to first baseman Abreu. B.McCann popped out to first baseman Abreu. C.Young was intentionally walked. Bird popped out to catcher Flowers.
2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Yankees 2, White Sox 1.