After getting swept in Oakland last weekend, the Chicago White Sox seemed like they’d broken through against the A’s at U.S. Cellular Field halfway through Thursday night’s contest.
But as they’ve shown time and time again this season, the Oakland Athletics are just too talented to ever be counted out of a game.
Yoenis Cespedes had two home runs — the second multi-home run game of the road trip for the Cuban slugger — and Josh Reddick and Adam Rosales added solo shots of their own, Rosales’s coming in extra innings to propel the A’s to a 5-4 win.
Dan Straily pitched seven innings with three strikeouts and two walks, and the bullpen made sure that the A’s would have a chance to win it at the plate after Reddick’s game-tying homer in the seventh, and Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins shut down the White Sox offense in the final two winnings to set up Rosales’s game-winner in the top of the 10th.
Initially, it looked like Oakland would be involved in another pitcher’s duel with Straily and Jose Quintana both looking sharp out of the gate.
After no baserunners through the first two and a half innings, the White Sox used a two-out rally in the bottom of the third to take a 3-0 lead. After a single by Tyler Flowers that got the lead runner out at second, Alejandro De Aza smacked a double to right, and both would score on Alexei Ramirez’s soft line drive to center field.
Ramirez proceeded to steal second, and he’d make it to third on a wild pitch by Straily before Alex Rios brought him home on a line drive to center field to make it 3-0 Chicago.
The A’s tacked on a run in the top of the fourth courtesy of a solo blast to left field by Cespedes, and they’d add one more in the fifth when Rosales hit a shot down the left field line to score Nate Freiman from second and make it 3-2.
The White Sox threatened to break the game open in bottom of the frame. A lead off walk and a double by Flowers put men at second and third with no outs, and after De Aza hit a single to left to make it 4-2, Straily was in a tight spot.
But after getting Ramirez to fly out to second and walking Rios to load the bases, he’d get Adam Dunn to pop one up to Josh Reddick in right, and the Gold Glove winner from last season displayed his cannon of an arm when he made the catch and threw home to catch Flowers trying to score from third, and the 9-2 double play would get Oakland out of the inning relatively unscathed.
Cespedes brought the A’s within one run on his second homer of the game, a towering shot that carried over the fence in right-center:
Quintana gave up his third long ball of the night in the seventh as Reddick connected on a curveball that ended up about 15 rows deep in the right field stands, tying the game 4-4:
The score would hold through the bottom of the ninth, although the White Sox had an runner at second with two outs in the final frame, but Blevins struck out Flowers to end the inning and give the fans in Chicago free baseball.
It wouldn’t take Oakland long to get their first lead of the night. After two quick outs in the top of the 10th, Rosales got a fastball up and in with a 1-2 count, and he got his hands around and sent the ball just inside the foul pole in left field for the go-ahead run, his fourth home run of the year.
Grant Balfour came in to close out the game, and the A’s remained undefeated on the year against the White Sox with a 5-4 win. Dunn game about five feet short of a walk-off homer on opposite field shot to left with De Aza on third, but Cespedes made the catch on the warning track to seal the victory for Oakland.
The A’s are now 17-3 over their last 20 games and are a half game back from the Texas Rangers after the AL West leaders lost 6-3 in Boston Thursday night.
Jarrod Parker and Chris Sale will face off tomorrow in a rematch of Sunday afternoon’s pitching matchup. Game time is 5:10 PST.