Athletics 2, White Sox 1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and umpire Hunter Wendelstedt insist there’s no personal grudge between them.
Yet after all the crazy plays, unlikely stars and general strangeness of the Oakland Athletics’ 2-1 victory over Chicago on Wednesday, Guillen’s latest confrontation with Wendelstedt still was the talk of both locker rooms.
Wendelstedt ejected Guillen for arguing in the ninth inning after ruling that Chicago’s Joe Crede made no effort to avoid getting hit by Justin Duchscherer’s pitch with two runners on and two outs in a 1-1 game. After Crede popped up on the next pitch, he also was tossed by Wendelstedt.
The umpire and the manager have a history: Guillen was hit with consecutive two-game suspensions last August following a confrontation with Wendelstedt— the first for arguing a call in a game against Cleveland, and the second for calling Wendelstedt a liar because of remarks in the umpire’s report on the incident.
Their disagreement in Oakland didn’t decide the game, won by Marco Scutaro’s RBI single in the ninth. But the White Sox still were scratching their heads over Wendelstedt’s judgment call, while the A’s were thrilled to see an umpire make such a ruling.
“It can go either way,” Guillen said. “There’s no place to win. It was the same (umpire) last year … and (this time) he said (Crede) stuck his arm into the ball. Maybe I just need to stay here a long time to earn respect. He said he thought he leaned in. But I have respect for them.”
Guillen has been ejected three times in his managing career—two by Wendelstedt.
In the umpires’ locker room, Wendelstedt cited the rulebook case study for his call, and crew chief Bruce Froemming supported him.
“There’s no carryover whatsoever (from last season),” Froemming said. “I respect Ozzie Guillen and his players, but if they get out of line, just like anyone else, that’s what we’re here for.
“Hunter made a great call. Crede leaned into the ball and tried to get hit by the ball. He leaned his shoulder into it. It’s a judgment call for Hunter, and he made a great call.”
The A’s wrapped up the victory moments after the ejections when Erubiel Durazo, who had three hits, scored on Scutaro’s shot down the left field line off Dustin Hermanson. Durazo, who also homered for the A’s, led off the ninth with a lazy fly off Damaso Marte (2-2)—but Aaron Rowand lost it in the sun.
“It was just a very, very weird last two games,” said A’s catcher Jason Kendall, who went 1-for-4. “Just strange. I thought it was a good call, but I get hit all the time, so who am I to say anything about it?”
The White Sox still have the AL’s best record at 16-6, but they lost a series for the first time in eight tries this season, with late-inning fielding blunders leading to both losses in Oakland.
Guillen used a strange lineup in the series finale, putting Crede at shortstop for “the third time since Little League,” according to Crede, and playing backup catcher Chris Widger at third base. When Crede was ejected, lanky outfielder Jermaine Dye was forced to play shortstop for the first time since high school.
Chicago extended its winning streak in the series opener Monday night, but Oakland snapped it with two late-inning rallies in a wild 9-7 victory Tuesday aided by Dye’s error on a flyball. The White Sox still could match the franchise record of 17 wins in April when they return home Friday against Detroit.
Paul Konerko had an RBI double in the first inning for the White Sox. Freddy Garcia allowed four hits in seven strong innings, but his teammates managed just one early run against Kirk Saarloos and Oakland’s solid bullpen.
Duchscherer (2-0) got the win while lowering his ERA to 0.66. Marte was the losing pitcher in both games against the A’s.
“I felt like he made an attempt to get hit by it, but you never see that call,” Duchscherer said of his pitch to Crede. “I was fortunate to get that call, because you don’t know what could have happened after that.”
Saarloos, the A’s fifth starter, issued five walks and never retired three straight batters during his 5 1-3 innings of work. But the Oakland defense converted four double plays in the first six innings to keep him out of trouble.
Garcia has gone at least six innings in all five of his starts this season. … Oakland LF Charles Thomas, acquired from Atlanta in the offseason, got his first hit with the A’s, singling in the fifth. He began the season 0-for-24. … Rain began to fall at the Coliseum in the fourth inning, sending much of the tiny crowd scurrying for shelter.