One day after lifting Chicago into first place with his glove, Everett and the White Sox look to continue their playoff push as they meet the Oakland Athletics in the middle game of their series at U.S. Cellular Field.
The outfielder, who was acquired July 1 from Texas for three minor leaguers, had two hits Friday and robbed Ramon Hernandez of a home run in the seventh inning, leading the White Sox to a 3-2 victory.
“That saved the game for them,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “That was a great play.”
Chicago’s Mark Buehrle outdueled Oakland’s Mark Mulder as the White Sox won for the 16th time in 20 games. They moved into first place for the first time since May 25, 2002, nudging a half-game ahead of Kansas City. The Royals lost at Tampa Bay 4-0.
Everett is hitting .394 (13-for-33) over his last nine games with five multihit performances for the White Sox, who have overcome a dismal first half of the season to become baseball’s hottest team.
“This is where we wanted to be and where everyone expected us to be,” said White Sox manager Jerry Manuel, whose job was in jeopardy following a 25-33 start. “We should be able to sustain this level of play.”
Mark Ellis had two of Oakland’s five hits Friday, as the Athletics lost their second straight.
STANDINGS: Athletics - 2nd place, 3 GB, AL West. White Sox - 1st place, AL Central.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Ted Lilly (6-9, 4.88 ERA). After going 1-3 with a 5.26 ERA in five July starts, Lilly was relegated to the bullpen. The left-hander has made just one appearance since, allowing one hit in one inning of Oakland’s 7-2 win over Detroit on Tuesday. In three career starts against the White Sox, Lilly is 2-1 with a 6.06 ERA.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Jon Garland (8-7, 4.58 ERA). Garland is 2-0 with a 4.82 ERA over his last four starts and hasn’t lost since a 2-1 setback to Detroit on July 8. The right-hander didn’t factor in the decision in Chicago’s 13-9 loss to Kansas City on Monday, allowing four runs and six hits over five innings. Garland is 1-2 with an 8.53 ERA in three career starts against the A’s.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .274 avg. and 9 SBs; Eric Chavez, 22 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 71 RBIs and 65 runs. White Sox - Magglio Ordonez, .315 avg. and 70 runs; Frank Thomas, 27 HRs; Carlos Lee, 79 RBIs and 11 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 4-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - 1B Scott Hatteberg is batting .500 in eight career at-bats against RHP Garland with one homer and five RBIs. … The A’s pitching staff is 17-10 with a 2.33 ERA over the last 27 games. … OF Byrnes, 0-for-3 Friday, is batting .095 (4-for-42) since the All-Star break and just .100 (9-for-90) with two RBIs since hitting for the cycle June 29 at San Francisco. White Sox - OF Ordonez is hitting .375 in eight career at-bats against LHP Lilly with four RBIs. … The White Sox have homered in a club-record 19 consecutive home games. … OF Lee is hitting .425 (17-for-40) with five home runs and 12 RBI in his last nine games and .352 (37-for-105) with 10 home runs and 28 RBI in his last 24.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 26-31 on the road; White Sox - 36-21 at home.