CHICAGO - The trade deadline came and went with the Yankees leaving unaddressed their most glaring need - help for the back end of their rotation.
Sergio Mitre's disastrous start Friday night demonstrated that ignoring that need isn't an option.
Mitre, in his third start since being called up from Triple-A, lasted just three innings in a 10-5 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, although he didn't take the loss.
The Yankees, in losing their second straight - the first time they've done that since the All-Star break - saw their lead over the Red Sox slip to 1½ games.
"I like our club," manager Joe Girardi said before the game, discussing the lack of action at the trade deadline.
But can the Yankees afford to keep sending Mitre, who has a 7.90 ERA in three starts, to the mound? "I'm not sure that we have a lot of options at this point,'' Girardi said, "so he's got to get it done for us."
Mitre entered the game having allowed 17 hits and eight runs - seven earned - in 102/3 innings in his two previous starts, but the Yankees won both.
He was abysmal Friday night, as was Alfredo Aceves, who helped turn a close game into a blowout by giving up four runs in the seventh inning.
But the story was Mitre, who was handed a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, a frame highlighted by Mark Teixeira's RBI double, and saw it evaporate after two.
He allowed five runs, two walks and seven hits in three innings, leaving with the Yankees in a 5-3 hole. But Eric Hinske hit a two-run homer in the fourth off D.J. Carrasco, who allowed five runs and nine hits in four innings, to get Mitre off the hook.
"The whole game, terrible job overall," Mitre said. In evaluating his first three starts, he said, "First one OK, the last two terrible."
Asked if he feels he's pitching for his job, Mitre said, "That's up to them. As far as I know, I get the ball every five days."
Carlos Quentin's RBI double off Dave Robertson in the fifth gave the White Sox the lead for good at 6-5.
Aceves' seventh inning was a nightmare. The inning featured a spectacular catch by Johnny Damon, who crashed head- and shoulder-first into the leftfield wall, but quickly devolved into an ugly four-run frame in which the White Sox successfully executed a steal of home on a double steal.
Though the game was no longer in doubt, Alex Rodriguez committed a rare baserunning blunder in the ninth. He singled hard into the gap in left-center with one out, sending Damon to third, but was thrown out at second when he tried to stretch it into a double. Girardi called it a "mistake," although not because Rodriguez seemed to come out of the box slowly. "The read," Girardi said. "He's got to stay at first."
Aceves, while not pleased with his outing, said his shoulder wasn't a factor. "The fatigue I was feeling is in the past," he said.
The Yankees hope to do that with the last two games in this series. "We've went through a lot of that [this year] where we've bounced back," Girardi said after the game. "So that's not a concern of mine."