Yankees host White Sox trying to stay in playoff hunt

( - Still clinging to postseason hopes with the end of the regular season drawing closer, the New York Yankees welcome the Chicago White Sox to Yankee Stadium on Friday night for the opener of a three-game set.

The Yankees entered the day nine games off the pace in the American League East but only four games back of Detroit for the league's second wild card spot.

"My bigger concern is us, not the other teams," manager Joe Girardi said. "Because if we don't win, it doesn't matter what the other teams do in front of us. My focus is still our club, and if we play really good baseball down the stretch, we have a shot."

On Thursday, New York notched a 3-0 win over the Houston Astros to avoid suffering a home sweep. Starter Brandon McCarthy was dialed in on the mound, striking out eight and going the distance for a four-hit shutout. With McCarthy making quick work of the Astros lineup, the game lasted just 2:07, which marked the Pinstripers' shortest home game since 1996.

Yankees second baseman Chase Headley sparked a three-run second inning with a two-run double off Dallas Keuchel.

"We talked about it before the game that we needed to come with a little bit more energy and hopefully some emotion and play the way we're capable of playing," Headley said. "We understand that we're a lot better offensively than we've shown."

Meanwhile, the White Sox were swept at home this week by the Baltimore Orioles for the first time since 1995. Avisail Garcia gave Chicago an early lead with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, but Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen settled down after that while White Sox starter Hector Noesi yielded four runs on seven hits over seven innings to drop to 7-9.

The offense hit a collective .132 while striking out 27 times over the course of the three-game set.

"Effort-wise, they're getting after it," manager Robin Ventura said. "The results may not be there right now but effort-wise guys are doing what they're supposed to be doing right now."

The Sox had off Thursday.

Toeing the rubber for Chicago in Friday's opener is John Danks, who has allowed more earned runs (84) and more home runs (23) than any other American League pitcher. The left-hander has notched only one victory in his last seven starts, although he had a promising outing against Toronto his last time out. Danks went six innings and limited a potent Blue Jays lineup to three earned runs on seven hits.

Rookie Shane Greene gets the nod for New York. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.91 in eight games (seven starts) this season after stifling the Rays in Tampa Bay last week. Greene pitched six innings of two-run ball while striking out a career-high 10 batters and walking only one.

The White Sox have lost their last five at Yankee Stadium.