The New York Yankees realize they'll need plenty of help to catch Toronto and win the AL East, but that will wind up being a moot point if they can't take care of their own business.
After dropping another game back in the division race, the Yankees send Adam Warren to the hill against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
New York (84-69) had its nine-game home winning streak over the White Sox (73-81) snapped with Friday's 5-2 loss, dropping it four games behind in the East with nine to play after the Blue Jays' win over Tampa Bay.
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The Yankees still hold a 4 1/2-game cushion atop the wild-card standings, but avoiding that one-game playoff remains their goal despite needing plenty to go their way down the stretch.
''I said it was going to be really difficult and my mind hasn't changed,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''(The Blue Jays) have played extremely well since Aug. 1, and you look at what they've done, but we're going to try to win every game and see what happens.''
Warren (6-7, 3.46 ERA) looks to help the Yankees bounce back in his third straight start after making 25 consecutive appearances out of the bullpen. He's given up five runs in 7 1-3 innings over his last two outings after allowing three while on an 85-pitch limit in Monday's 4-2 loss at Toronto.
''I was trying to make the best pitch in the world instead of trusting my stuff,'' Warren said.
The right-hander is 5-6 with a 3.80 ERA in 16 starts this season. He faced the White Sox out of the bullpen July 31 and allowed two runs in 2 1-3 innings, giving him a 7.30 ERA in one start and seven relief efforts in his career against Chicago.
Alexei Ramirez is 4 for 7 lifetime against Warren, and he had an RBI double Friday as the White Sox snapped a three-game skid.
Mike Olt and Gordon Beckham hit solo homers in the seventh inning for Chicago, which scored more than four runs for the first time in 10 games.
John Danks (7-13, 4.59) gets the ball next for the White Sox looking to improve on his 6.43 ERA in three career starts at Yankee Stadium. He's 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA over his last four outings, but he wasn't at his best Sunday against Cleveland while throwing 110 pitches in five innings and allowing three runs in a 6-3 defeat.
"I wasn't able to force them to swing,'' Danks said. ''They were patient and were able to wait me out, and before you know it my pitch count is up, and I'm out of the game.''
The left-hander issued four walks against the Yankees on Aug. 1, but he also struck out eight in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-2 victory. Jacoby Ellsbury (8 for 19) has hit Danks well, but Brett Gardner (1 for 14) and Alex Rodriguez (3 for 14) have struggled.
Ellsbury flied out as a pinch-hitter Friday and is batting .175 in his last 12 against the White Sox. He'll be back in the starting lineup for this contest after being held out for rest.
Rodriguez is mired in a 2-for-23 slump and has gone 0 for 12 in his last four games against the White Sox.
Chicago second baseman Micah Johnson has missed the last four with knee discomfort, and his status for Saturday is unclear.