They just never got that knockout blow.
"When a guy gets into scoring position off of CC Sabathia, he pumps it up," said Gordon Beckham, who finished with two hits for Chicago. "He was hitting 98 in the seventh or eighth inning. It's frustrating, yeah, but we battled against him and we just came up short."
The 10 hits allowed matched a season high for Sabathia, who managed to wiggle out of trouble all night as the White Sox struggled to score without injured slugger Paul Konerko. They put the tying run in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh and came away with nothing each time.
"It's a shame," A.J. Pierzynski said. "We had some runners, we got a bunch of hits, but we hit a couple line drives right at guys that turned into double plays. It's just one of those nights where it just didn't work out."
Pierzynski was caught off second on Brent Morel's liner in the fifth, one of three double plays turned by the Yankees in their fourth consecutive victory. Pierzynski also hit into one in the second, and Morel lined into another one in the third.
"CC Sabathia is one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball," Pierzynski said. "We had chances and it just didn't work out."
Sabathia (16-5) pitched eight innings to improve to 9-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his last 10 starts, burnishing his credentials for a second AL Cy Young Award. He leads the majors in wins and has pitched at least six innings in each of his last 21 outings.
"I had to battle a little bit and just try to make pitches," he said. "They put some good at-bats together on me, hit some balls hard and me and Cervy (catcher Francisco Cervelli) were able to get out of some tough situations."
Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 28th save in 32 chances and second in two days.
Ramirez and Pierzynski also had two hits apiece for Chicago, which has lost three straight games.
White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy (4-5) settled down after a rough start and pitched seven effective innings. The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs and eight hits, but still dropped his fourth consecutive decision.
"I didn't pitch as well as I could pitch tonight, but I had pretty good stuff," Peavy said. "A lot of guys would take that on any given night. It's just not going to get you many wins when you're going against CC Sabathia and the Yankees."
Both teams were without their captains for the opener of the four-game series. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter rested with a bruised right middle finger and is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday, but Konerko could miss the next couple of days with a bruised left calf.
Both All-Stars were injured when they were hit by a pitch on Sunday.
"I can't bear any weight," Konerko said. "That's probably the main thing. Just very weak. That's very normal where I got hit. Just keep working at it."
The inconsistent White Sox trail AL Central-leading Detroit by 4½ games, and could lose more ground if they are without their best player for a prolonged stretch. Konerko leads Chicago regulars with a .305 batting average, 25 homers and 76 RBIs.
His absence was felt almost immediately.
Dunn got the start at first and made a nice diving stop on Brett Gardner's leadoff grounder in the first, but couldn't get the ball out of his glove in time to retire the speedy outfielder. Curtis Granderson followed with a run-scoring double into the right-field corner and came around to score when Robinson Cano's hard, one-out grounder skipped past Dunn for an RBI single.
Dunn also went 0 for 4 against Sabathia and is 3 for 77 with 35 strikeouts against lefties this year. The burly slugger, who signed with Chicago over the winter, once again heard more jeers from a frustrated crowd of 24,142 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Granderson scored on Cano's double-play grounder to give New York a 3-0 lead in the third, but the Yankees struggled after their fast start. They recorded six of their eight hits in the first three innings.
NOTES: Ramirez is 10 for 22 with a home run and three RBIs in his career against Sabathia. ... The White Sox are 3 for 24 with runners in scoring position in their last five games. ... RHP Ivan Nova will start the series finale Thursday, giving New York a six-man rotation for at least the next week. The move provides some extra rest for aging starters Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, and likely sets up a competition between Phil Hughes and Nova for a starting spot. Hughes is scheduled to face LHP John Danks on Tuesday. ... Peavy threw a season-high 115 pitches.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap