What it means: That the Yankees' lead in the AL East is now down to three games, the slimmest it's been since June 25. Things are tightening up all over around here after a 2-1 loss.
Chicago fire: When the Yankees arrived, the White Sox were a tepid team, 5-5 over their previous 10 games. Now, they are red-hot, having swept this series, and lead the AL Central by two games over the Tigers.
Closeout Sale: ChiSox starter Chris Sale, who is among the AL leaders in wins (15) and ERA (2.65), absolutely dominated the Yankees' lineup, allowing just one run and three hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out 13. One of the best pitching performances the Yankees have been on the wrong end of all season.
Hughes second-best: Phil Hughes had the misfortune of choosing tonight to throw one of his best games of the year -- 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER -- but was done in by his season-long bugaboo, the HR. Alex Rios' solo shot in the sixth not only broke a 1-1 tie, it kept Hughes in the rarefied air of AL pitchers who are easiest to take out of the yard. Hughes and Ervin Santana (LAA) are tied for second place with 29 HRs allowed; Baltimore's Tommy Hunter, who surrendered three tonight, is setting the pace with 32.
Jeter juices another one: Derek Jeter cranked a 3-1 pitch from Sale into the left-field seats with one out in the sixth to tie the game at 1, his third home run in three games here. It was Jeter's 13th homer of the season, a total he had not reached since 2009 (18).
The K counter: With two K's in the ninth by closer Addison Reed, the Yankees struck out 15 times tonight, led by Ichiro Suzuki, who whiffed thrice. Kurtis Granderson struck out twice tonight to run his season total to 152, 17 shy of his own Yankees single-season record. But at the pace he's going, he will obliterate that -- assuming 600 ABs, the Fanning Man is on pace for 196 K's.
CC Friday? Si, si!: CC Sabathia played catch before the game and declared himself ready to go on Friday after a 15-day stint on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. Joe Girardi wouldn't completely commit -- after all, what if he gets hit by a bus? -- but my money says Sabathia opens the series against the Indians on Friday night, especially with the Yankees coming off a sweep.
Pettitte progressing: Andy Pettitte threw off flat ground again today, including 15 pitches for which he wore spikes and pushed off with something approximating the intensity of game speed. Like CC, he, too, said everything went well, although he still has no timetable to begin throwing off a mound.
Tomorrow: The first off day after 20 games in a row, followed by a weekend in Cleveland with games against the Indians on Friday, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The expected pitching matchups: Sabathia's return from the DL -- the Yankees are still listing their starter as TBA -- facing RHP Corey Kluber (0-2, 6.27) on Friday; Hiroki Kuroda vs. RHP Justin Masterson (9-11, 4.73) on Saturday; and Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.96) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-12, 5.59) on Sunday.