The Oakland Athletics had another heated battle with the Chicago White Sox Sunday afternoon, and they came out on the losing end by a final score of 4-2.
A.J. Griffin took the loss, going 7.1 innings with four earned runs on seven hits. The right-hander was sharp, striking out five and walking only one, but he was hurt by a two-run Chicago outburst in the fourth, and that would be the difference in another close game between the two teams.
Coco Crisp got the A’s off to an encouraging start at the plate with a sharp home run to left field in the third to give Oakland a 1-0 lead. That’d be the only earned run of the game for Oakland, and the team is heading back home with a mere three runs in the last two games.
Tyler Flowers answered right back in the bottom of the frame with his own solo shot to the same part of the ballpark to tie the game.
The two homers were the only blemishes for the otherwise-sharp starting pitchers up to that point, but Griffin got into trouble in the bottom of the fourth when he surrendered a one-out double to Adam Dunn. Paul Konerko followed it up with a single to right field to put baserunners at the corners for Conor Gillaspie, who hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to put Chicago up 2-1 and advance Konerko to second.
After walking Dayan Viciedo, Griffin threw a curveball to Gordon Beckham that was lined to left field to score Konerko before he got Flowers to fly out to end the inning, and the White Sox had a 3-1 lead.
Things would stay that way until the top of the seventh. Josh Reddick drew a one-out walk, and that would be it for Hector Santiago as White Sox manager Robin Ventura went to right-hander Matt Lindstrom in the bullpen to preserve the lead.
Bob Melvin responded by bringing in left-handed hitter John Jaso to pinch hit for Derek Norris, and it paid off when Jaso singled to center field. Reddick advanced to third on a ground ball from Adam Rosales that resulted in out number two on a throw to second base, and Matt Thornton was brought in to replace Lindstrom with Crisp coming up at the plate.
With Rosales off to a considerable lead, Thornton threw to first and went wide of Konerko’s glove, and the error would allow Reddick to score to make it 3-2 before Crisp was retired to end the rally.
Griffin retired the side in the bottom of the seventh and was left in to pitch the eighth, but with one-out he gave up a home run to Alex Rios that put Chicago up 4-2, and Melvin immediately brought in Jerry Blevins to finish the inning.
The A’s had one last chance against Addison Reed in the ninth, but he shut them down to earn the win and give the White Sox a 2-2 series split with Oakland.
With the Texas Rangers’ 6-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays today, the A’s are now a half game back in the AL West standings. They’re off Monday and will return to action Tuesday for a three-game series against the visiting New York Yankees. Bartolo Colon will face off against Bay Area native C.C. Sabathia in the series opener.