CHICAGO -- For Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees, the storybook endings will have to wait.
Rodriguez was on deck Tuesday when Alfonso Soriano struck out against Addison Reed to end the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. New York had already scored once in the ninth after a Brett Gardner single, and Rodriguez was one batter away from getting his chance to play hero.
However, Soriano swung through a Reed fastball, and New York lost for the third straight time, falling to 6-11 after the All-Star break.
"You always want to have an opportunity to come up with the game on the line and get a big hit for us," Rodriguez said. "I thought Sori was going to get a big hit there."
On Monday, Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, a penalty he will appeal. Rodriguez, who activated from the disabled list Monday after sitting out due to hip surgery and then a quadriceps injury, was once again lustily booed before each plate appearance at U.S. Cellular Field.
After going 1-for-4 Monday as the cleanup hitter, Rodriguez batted third and went 1-for-2 Tuesday as New York's designated hitter. In the first inning, he walked against Chris Sale (7-11). In his next plate appearance, which came with two outs in the third, Rodriguez was hit by a Sale pitch, which drew applause from the Chicago crowd. With one out in the fifth, Rodriguez lined out sharply to center. Then to lead off the eighth, Rodriguez singled between short and third.
"I felt good. I'm seeing the ball pretty well," Rodriguez said. "Just trying to get timing more and more every at-bat."
The Yankees could certainly use that from A-Rod.
Sale, who was 1-9 with a 3.23 ERA over his previous 11 starts, threw 7 1/3 innings and gave up five hits and one run while striking out six. He held down a Yankees team that has scored three runs or fewer in seven straight games.
"I think he was a little erratic early and settled down into what you expect," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's got a lot of emotions going on just because of the way things have been going for him."
Hiroki Kuroda (10-7) pitched seven strong innings and gave up a season-high nine hits and three runs, but he couldn't help the Yankees avoid their third straight loss. He had been 3-0 in his previous five starts.
New York (57-55) fell to two games above .500 for the first time since April 24, when it was 11-9.
"I think we need to win every day. Where we're at and the position we're in, we have to win every day," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "So one guy's start doesn't become more important, but it's probably a little more frustrating when they don't give up a lot of runs and you don't win those games."
New York's frustrations increased in the third.
The Yankees thought they doubled their lead with two outs in the third on Robinson Cano's single to left. However, Gardner, who went into the plate standing up, was called out by umpire Alan Porter after a throw by Alejandro De Aza, even though replays appeared to show he was safe. Both Gardner and manager Joe Girardi briefly argued the call.
Girardi questioned Porter's positioning behind the play, but he added the call possibly would have been easier if Gardner had slid.
"From what I understand, (catcher Josh Phegley) didn't tag him," Girardi said. "But that's tough for him to see that."
Conor Gillaspie, Paul Konerko and De Aza drove in runs for Chicago (42-69), and Reed picked up his 27th save in 32 tries. The White Sox have won the first two games of the series after losing 10 games in a row.
"It feels good, especially coming off a win last night," Sale said. "Two means a streak, so hopefully tomorrow will bring some more good news and some more loud music playing after the game."
NOTES: Yankees GM Brian Cashman said the season has "been one for the ages." New York started play 57-54 and 9 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East and has dealt with a host of injuries and controversies. ... Yankees RHP Mariano Rivera said "there's no going back" on his decision to retire after the season. Rivera, who has 35 saves this year, was honored before the game by the White Sox. ... Chicago OF Dayan Viciedo was out of the lineup one day after jamming his left thumb. Manager Robin Ventura said Viciedo probably would be back in the lineup Wednesday. ... Girardi said RHP David Phelps has a different strain in his right forearm than the one that sent him to the disabled list July 5. Phelps won't pitch for a couple of weeks. ... Tests on the shoulder of Yankees RHP Michael Pineda "came back good," but Pineda will be shut down for seven to 10 days, Girardi said. ... White Sox RHP Brian Omogrosso had season-ending surgery Monday to clean up debris in his right elbow. ... Wednesday's pitching matchup is New York LHP CC Sabathia (9-10, 4.78 ERA) against Chicago LHP Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.28 ERA).