The Chicago White Sox’s starters have pitched well recently after a rough start to the month.
Chicago (69-53) won for the fourth time in five games Saturday, beating the Athletics 2-1. Juan Uribe and Toby Hall each drove in a run in the second inning, and starter John Danks allowed one run over six innings to help the White Sox improve to 7-28 on the road against the Athletics since 2001.
Chicago dropped the opener between the teams 6-4 on Friday after pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run, walk-off home run.
“Every time we come here you always think something is going to happen in a negative way and we’ve got to try to not think that way or say we’ve got to do this or that,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “It’s an ugly game, but we won it. I don’t know how we did it.”
Chicago remains tied with Minnesota for first place in the AL Central. With Danks’ solid outing, the White Sox starters improved 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA the last five games. After beginning the month 2-3 with a 7.52 ERA in the first five games, the starters have gone 6-1 with a 2.04 ERA over the last nine.
The A’s (56-66), meanwhile, left nine on base and grounded into two double plays in losing for the 15th time in 18 games.
“We didn’t get anything going,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “We had the bases loaded with no outs and again with one out and we didn’t score. Those are big situations, and they are magnified when you’re not scoring. Every run becomes crucial. If we get one or two more runs we’d get a few more wins.”
Vazquez (9-10, 4.50) takes the mound for Chicago in the series finale. He allowed five hits over eight innings Tuesday in a 9-0 win over the Royals, just his second victory in his last nine starts.
“I felt like I’ve been throwing the ball well the last few starts but a mistake here or there cost me,” said Vazquez, who is 2-5 with a 5.10 ERA since June 22. “Today I didn’t have any mistakes. … I feel really strong and healthy and we have only two months left. Important months, too.”
The right-hander is 1-3 with a 5.77 ERA in six starts against the A’s, and 0-2 with a 7.13 ERA in four starts in Oakland.
The White Sox face one of their former prospects Sunday when Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 4.09) takes the mound. Gonzalez was part of the trade that sent Nick Swisher to Chicago in January. He was drafted by the White Sox in 2004, then traded to Philadelphia the following year before returning to the White Sox in 2006. He never appeared in any major league games with Chicago.
The 22-year-old left-hander has made two starts this season. He allowed one run and five hits over five innings against Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a 2-1 win for his first career victory.
“I’m at a loss for words for how I felt out there,” Gonzalez told the A’s official Web site. “There were a lot of emotions.”
Oakland is 3-10 at home since July 12.