Yanks fall to White Sox in extra innings
Rivera allows second homer in ninth; Bombers fall in 11
CHICAGO -- The Yankees didn't get what they have come to expect from Chien-Ming Wang on Tuesday, but they managed to overcome that. What they couldn't overcome was a rare meltdown by Mariano Rivera.
Paul Konerko tied the game against the All-Star closer with a solo home run in the ninth and Jermaine Dye singled in the game-winner against Scott Proctor in the 11th, as the White Sox stole a 6-5 victory from the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Yankees had plenty of chances in the late innings, stranding five runners in scoring position over the final four innings.
"It's frustrating," said Alex Rodriguez, who snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a 3-for-3 night, including a two-run homer. "It's a game we could have won three or four times."
"We had so many opportunities to put a few more runs on the board, we just didn't do it," Johnny Damon said. "We had some big opportunities, but we couldn't capitalize."
The loss dropped the Yankees to 66-43, as they missed out on their opportunity to move 25 games over .500 for the first time this season. New York, which stands two games ahead of Boston, lost no ground in the American League East, as the Red Sox fell to the Royals before the Yankees' game was over.
"It's a missed opportunity to extend [the lead]," manager Joe Torre said. "They had lost and we hadn't yet, so it was in our court. If we had lost the game and then watched them lose, we could say we dodged a bullet."
"You can't control that, so we have to worry about ourselves whether they win or lose," A-Rod said. "It's enough to worry about one team and 25 guys; you can't play two games at once."
Wang allowed four runs over five innings in the no-decision, marking his shortest outing in more than two months.
Craig Wilson's first homer as a Yankee, a solo shot off Freddy Garcia in the second, gave New York a 2-0 lead. But Wang, whose scoreless-innings streak moved to 19 after the first, gave up three in the second, putting the White Sox ahead, 3-2.
A-Rod put the Yanks back on top in the third, drilling a two-run homer to left field, his 23rd of the season. Rodriguez's homer was the 452nd of his career, tying him with Carl Yastrzemski for 31st place on the all-time list.
Joe Crede tied it up in the fourth with a solo shot, his 24th. Wang put up a zero in the fifth, but after 95 pitches, his night was over. It was the shortest outing for Wang since June 1, when he pitched just four innings against the Tigers.
"He was due for one of those games, even though you never like to look forward to it," Torre said. "He never gave up; he kept battling."
The Yankees broke the tie in the eighth, as Derek Jeter singled, Bobby Abreu walked and A-Rod singled, loading the bases. Left-hander Neal Cotts came in to face Jason Giambi, but his 1-1 offering plunked Giambi on the right elbow, forcing Jeter in from third with the go-ahead run. Giambi left the game with a bruised elbow and is day-to-day.
New York could have added to the lead, but Jorge Posada grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, ending the inning. The Yankees also had Robinson Cano on second base with no outs and third base with one out in the ninth, but Bobby Jenks (3-3) retired Wilson and Melky Cabrera to hold the lead at one.
Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless eighth to set up Rivera, but the closer couldn't nail down his 29th save. Konerko's blast, which came on a 2-2 pitch, was just the second allowed by Rivera this season, the other coming in Toronto on July 20, when Vernon Wells hit a walk-off shot in the 11th inning.
"I tried to go away and it didn't get there," Rivera said. "It caught too much of the plate and he put good wood on the ball. It's definitely tough, but you can't do anything about it. It's done. We'll come back tomorrow."
"I was looking at one area, and if he threw it there, I could maybe put it in play," Konerko said. "If he throws anything else, I'm probably done. He threw it out over the plate."
The blown save was just the third of the season in 31 opportunities for Rivera.
"We get to the ninth with a one-run lead, we're tickled pink," Torre said. "Everything fell into place for us, we just couldn't get the last three outs."
Proctor struck out the side in the 10th, but Tadahito Iguchi reached on an infield single to lead off the 11th, putting the winning run on base. Proctor walked Jim Thome, then got Konerko to fly out to right for the first out.
Dye popped up Proctor's 0-2 pitch into foul territory in shallow left field, but neither Rodriguez nor Cabrera could get to it.
"I can't catch that ball, and Melky probably can't, either," Rodriguez said. "You can hit that ball 100 times and I can't catch it 100 times. I have a hard enough time with the ones hit right at me."
Dye laced Proctor's next pitch, a low fastball, to center, scoring Iguchi for the game-winner.
"It probably could have been a little more off the plate on 0-2, but I can live with it," Proctor said of his final pitch. "These guys are as tough as anybody. They've got a lot of thump, so you have to make your pitches or they'll make you pay for it real quick.
"It's just one game," added Proctor. "We've been playing real good baseball right now, so you can't beat yourself up over one game. It's a tough loss, but tomorrow is another game."
On the bright side for New York, Cano returned from the disabled list with a three-hit night, also throwing out Scott Podsednik at third base with a great relay throw in the first inning. Posada threw out three would-be basestealers in the game and A-Rod reached base in all five of his plate appearances.
"There were a lot of good things tonight that I was pleased with," Torre said. "The result was the only thing that bothered me."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.