CHICAGO - In explaining why he made no big moves, particularly to bolster a starting rotation with plenty of questions, before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, "I like the team we have."
He meant both in the major leagues and the minors. "I'm doubling down on what we've got," he said.
One of those assets is rookie righthander Bryan Mitchell, who was called up Thursday and given Saturday night's start against the White Sox.
He hardly was awful, and received little help from the offense, but Mitchell did little to quell Yankees fans' fears about the rotation in an 8-2 loss in front of 34,379 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Mitchell allowed four runs and seven hits in four innings-plus, walking two and striking out five. "He did OK," Joe Girardi said.
"I fell behind a lot," Mitchell said. "It's tough to pitch like that. You're going to run into trouble more times than not."
The Yankees (58-45), coming off a 17-7 month of July, saw their AL East lead trimmed to five games as they fell to 5-4 on this 10-game, three-city trip.
Mitchell (0-1) did not get much assistance from another rookie pitcher, righthander Diego Moreno, who came on with one on and none out in the fifth. Moreno, who pitched a scoreless and hitless 51/3 innings Tuesday in Texas, hit Jose Abreu and allowed a three-run homer by former Yankee Melky Cabrera to make it 6-1.
Moreno allowed four runs and four hits in three innings.
White Sox lefthander John Danks (6-8, 4.80) wasn't sharp but limited the damage, allowing one run, three hits and four walks in 52/3 innings. He struck out eight. The Yankees managed only five hits, including Brian McCann's 17th homer of the season in the ninth.
For one of the few times this trip, the Yankees didn't lead after the first inning.
After Danks struck out two batters in a perfect first, White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton lined a 98-mph fastball from Mitchell to right for a single. Tyler Saladino lined out softly to second but Abreu lined a 97-mph fastball down the leftfield line for a double that gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead and made the first baseman 17-for-38 (.447). After walking Cabrera, Mitchell got out of the jam when Avisail Garcia grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The White Sox (50-52) added a run in the second when Alexei Ramirez drove a 95-mph fastball deep into the seats in left for his sixth homer.
The Yankees pulled within 2-1 in the third. John Ryan Murphy improved to 6-for-15 on the trip with a leadoff double and went to third on Brendan Ryan's single to left, which improved him to 7-for-19 on the trip. But rightfielder Garcia stole a home run from Didi Gregorius, who had to settle for a sacrifice fly instead of a three-run shot that would have given the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
"That changes the complexion of the game, too," Girardi said. "When you have the lead, you can use the bullpen a little bit different, but we weren't able to get the lead."
The White Sox broke it open in the fifth. Eaton sent a 1-and-2 curveball back up the middle for a single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Saladino's ground-ball single to right for a 3-1 lead. That ended things for Mitchell, who was replaced by Moreno. Saladino stole second on Moreno's second pitch and Abreu was hit by a pitch, setting up Cabrera's homer.
"In the fifth, things got a little out of hand," Mitchell said. "I was ahead of Eaton there and have to make a better pitch ahead in the count. It went right over my glove and things kind of spun out of control from there."