White Sox 5, Athletics 3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Jon Garland’s best stuff abandoned him in the middle innings and he had to calmly work out of jams, something Chicago’s star right-hander knows would have been much more difficult in the past.
Garland won his major league-leading 13th game to establish a career high and Joe Crede hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh, helping the White Sox snap Oakland’s eight-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory Saturday night.
Not a bad final statement by Garland on the eve of All-Star announcements. He’s certainly pleased with how he has pitched in the first half.
“If you stop and look how the team has done, and look at my numbers in the past, they go along with how the team is doing,” said the modest Garland, a 12-game winner in each of his first three full big league seasons. “I’m satisfied with the way I’ve been going out and competing each game.”
Garland (13-3), who pitched a complete-game, four-hitter in a 6-0 win over the A’s in the Coliseum on April 25, threw fastballs in the mid-90s most of the game and had the A’s off-balance and swinging early in the count to win in his second try at 13 victories.
He became the third White Sox pitcher since 1975 to reach 13 wins before the All-Star break and first since Jack McDowell in 1993.
Crede connected for his 12th home run of the season with two outs in the seventh, a solo shot to left-center. He also added an RBI single in the second for Chicago, which owns the best record in the majors at 54-25. Timo Perez added an insurance run with an RBI double in the ninth.
Dustin Hermanson threw seven pitches in the ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances as the White Sox won for the fourth time in five games.
Eric Chavez drove in two runs including a sixth-inning sacrifice fly that briefly tied it for the A’s, who were trying to reach .500 for the first time since May 2. Oakland had won nine straight at home, where the club lost to Chicago for only the fourth time in 23 meetings since 2000.
“That’s what it was going to take for us to get over the hump (in Oakland),” Crede said of Chicago’s timely hitting and Garland’s big day. “Every hitter will tell you that your concentration level is higher when the stakes are higher.”
The A’s also saw a perfect run by the rotation end despite a solid outing by Kirk Saarloos, who had won his last three decisions. The starters went 12-0 in their previous 13 games.
“It’s probably a different feeling right now if I don’t hang a cutter and he doesn’t hit it out,” Saarloos said.
As well as Saarloos pitched, the 25-year-old Garland was just better. He is impressing everybody with his maturity on the mound.
He opened the season with eight straight victories, then had a four-start winning streak snapped in a 2-0 loss to Cubs ace Mark Prior last Sunday when Garland allowed one earned run in 7 1-3 innings.
He needed just 33 pitches Saturday to get through the first three innings untouched. He allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out one and walked one in a 110-pitch performance.
“It’s great for us to see him pitch and get out of jams the way he did,” White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen said. “Before, he wouldn’t have done that. Every time this kid goes on the mound, we have a great chance to win the game.”
He plunked Jason Kendall above the left elbow to start the fourth, the first baserunner Garland allowed. Bobby Crosby hit an RBI double two batters later, extending his career-best hitting streak to 13 games and ending Garland’s run of 14 scoreless innings against the A’s.
Crosby advanced to third on a throwing error by Garland on a pickoff attempt and Chavez singled Crosby home moments later to tie it at 2.
Garland loaded the bases for Chavez in the sixth with none out on singles by Kendall and Crosby and a four-pitch walk to Mark Kotsay.
Chavez hit a fly to deep center to tie the game at 3, but Garland retired the next two batters.
“I thought our hitters’ approach was fine. Sometimes you just get beat,” A’s manager Ken Macha said.
Saarloos (4-5) retired the side in order in the first, third and fifth innings and got a double play to end the fourth. He was tagged for four runs and seven hits in seven innings and didn’t walk a batter for the second straight start.
The White Sox are a majors-best 27-13 on the road, outscoring opponents 188-141. … A’s right-handed reliever Chad Bradford, recovering from back surgery, threw one inning for Triple-A Sacramento in his first rehab outing. Bradford started against Salt Lake and allowed one run and three hits, making 11 pitches. … The A’s will play three in Chicago before the All-Star break. … Oakland hired Yohei Fukuda as the new interpreter for Japanese reliever Keiichi Yabu. … The game drew a sellout crowd of 45,712, including about 12,000 walkup tickets for fireworks night.