DeSalvo (1-3) wasted a good opportunity to earn some big-league credibility -- though probably not a permanent spot with the team -- while starting in place of Roger Clemens, who pulled out of his scheduled season debut over the weekend due to a fatigued groin. While Clemens is still scheduled to start against the Pirates this weekend, DeSalvo will be toiling in the International League for the time being.
"We were asking him to do something he may not be ready to do just yet," Torre said. "I think you've got to give him sort of a pass. When you pitch at this level, the expectations are higher."
DeSalvo was sent down on June 1 and wouldn't have been able to return so soon, if not for Doug Mientkiewicz going on the disabled list because of a fractured right wrist. DeSalvo hadn't pitched since May 28, but said that shouldn't have been a factor in his performance.
"There's no excuse for how everything went today," he said.
He gave up two earned runs in 1 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, one walk and one hit batsman. After his fifth start with the Yankees, the 26-year-old DeSalvo said he doesn't agree with Torre that he's in over his head.
"I belong here, I think," DeSalvo said. "I just need to get myself situated. I need to get my pitches back to where I'm throwing with my strengths. Some days, you just don't have your best stuff. I guess today I didn't. I didn't really pitch well enough to get out of the second inning, obviously."
The Yankees scored three runs in the ninth off Jon Garland and the White Sox shaky bullpen, but it wasn't enough to make up a five-run deficit.
"We had the whole game to score some runs and give us a shot," Yankees designated hitter Johnny Damon said. "But we waited until the last inning. What can you say? We definitely had our chances, but Jon Garland went out and pitched well."
The Yankees said they weren't thinking, "What if?" about Clemens pitching to the hot-and-cold Sox hitters instead of a green rookie, but surely even Clemens' worst stuff would've got him through two innings.
"You can't sit around and concern yourself with when Rocket's going to come back," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "Because we have to win games whether he's pitching or not."
The White Sox, who had lost seven of eight coming in, scored three in the second to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Paul Konerko singled, Rob Mackowiak was hit in the knee by a pitch and Juan Uribe singled to load the bases. Konerko scored on Joe Crede's bouncer to third as Alex Rodriguez stepped on the bag for the forceout. A-Rod's double-play throw to first pulled Josh Phelps off the bag and Crede was called safe.
Jerry Owens then hit a grounder and Phelps' wild throw to second went past Jeter into shallow left. Uribe scored on Phelps' error and Jeter was taken out, and briefly shaken up, by a sliding Crede. Tadahito Iguchi scored Crede with a single to make it 3-1, and that was all for DeSalvo. Jeter said Crede stepped on his left foot as he slid through the bag. He met with a trainer and Torre, but stayed in the game.
"As always, he said, 'I'll be all right,'" Torre said.
Ron Villone came in and got Jim Thome to ground into a double play to end the second. Thome got a little payback against Villone in the fourth, cranking a 418-foot, two-run homer to straightaway center to make it 5-1.
Konerko's solo home run in the seventh off Chris Britton gave the White Sox another insurance run. Britton worked three innings, and Konerko's blast was the only hit he gave up. Villone gave up five hits and two runs in his two innings of relief and Mike Myers worked the last 1 2/3.
Bobby Abreu's RBI double in the first gave the Yankees an early lead. Jeter, who reached on an error by Iguchi, scored on the hard-hit ball to left-center.
Garland (4-3) breezed through the next seven innings, thanks in part to three double plays and a slew of groundouts. Two double plays came off Phelps' bat, with two men on in the second and fourth. Rodriguez was doubled off second on Jorge Posada's lineout to Iguchi in the sixth. Garland was pulled with one out in the ninth after Hideki Matsui doubled off the wall in center.
Matt Thornton walked Robinson Cano and gave up an RBI single to Phelps. Bobby Jenks came in and gave up a sac fly to Melky Cabrera, scoring Cano. Damon's single scored pinch-runner Miguel Cairo but Jeter, the tying run, grounded out to shortstop to end it.
"This is a time we're going to need to make a charge," Damon said. "[Sunday's 6-5 win over Boston] was huge for us. It just stinks right now. We know we're going to play better in June, it's just a matter of getting the job done."