White Sox 6, Athletics 3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Paul Konerko joked about rings being passed out.
It had been so long since the Chicago White Sox captured a series in Oakland that some sort of celebration was in order—and that probably meant a festive charter flight to Cleveland considering the Athletics’ clubhouses are alcohol-free.
Darin Erstad hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth after Jermaine Dye connected for a tying two-run homer an inning earlier, and the White Sox beat the A’s 6-3 on Wednesday for their first series win at the Coliseum in nearly seven years.
“It’s nice to win here for the first time since Billy Pierce was playing for the White Sox,” manager Ozzie Guillen joked, referring to the pitcher who played for the Sox from 1949-61.
The A’s scored all of their runs in the first inning, then Chicago’s pitchers shut down the struggling Oakland offense the rest of the way. The Athletics have yet to win a series through their initial three sets. They lost to the White Sox at home for the first time since Aug. 28-30, 2000.
Dye, who had a career-best 44 homers last year, hit his first of the year, a drive off Justin Duchscherer after the right-hander had struck out two batters. Erstad hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly after closer Huston Street (1-1) allowed a single to Juan Uribe and consecutive walks to A.J. Pierzynski and Scott Podsednik. Street intentionally walked Jim Thome to bring up Konerko, who lined a two-run double to left.
Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle had been razzing Dye for days about when he would finally hit one over the fence.
“Sooner or later, hopefully I would get a couple of hits,” Dye said. “Today was a big day for me. I helped the team win with a big hit.”
The White Sox had nine hits after getting 12 total in the first two games. Uribe’s RBI double in the second scored the team’s first run Wednesday.
“Yeah, I hear we’re getting rings,” said Konerko, who has his from the team’s 2005 championship season. “This is probably the earliest we’ve come here in all the years we’ve been coming here.”
Mike Piazza, who is getting this DH thing down, hit a two-run double in the first to stake Joe Kennedy to an early lead. Eric Chavez added and RBI double after Piazza’s hit, but that was it for the A’s.
The 38-year-old Piazza, playing in the American League for the first time after a 15-year catching career that will likely land him in the Hall of Fame, has an eight-game hitting streak and is 14-for-33 (.424) during that span.
Buehrle allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings and threw 113 pitches, showing signs he’s healthy after leaving his season debut in the second inning following a line drive on the left forearm. He retired 17 of his final 18 batters but is still 0-5 in 11 career appearances, nine starts, in Oakland.
“He grabs the ball and throws it. He works quick,” Piazza said. “He throws strikes. After getting to him early we just couldn’t mount any sort of offense against him.”
Kennedy, who missed half of 2006 because of an injury to his throwing shoulder, allowed one run and five hits in five innings, struck out three and walked three in an 84-pitch effort before the bullpen blew it. Kiko Calero and Jay Marshall had combined for two innings of scoreless relief before Justin Duchscherer entered in the eighth.
After the game, Street spent time studying video to see what went wrong.
“I just wanted to see those pitches to Pierzynski and I wanted to see those pitches to Konerko,” Street said. “Everything else I pretty much knew what they were. I felt OK out there. It just happens sometimes.”
Marco Scutaro, Oakland’s super-sub the past two seasons when shortstop Bobby Crosby was hurt, earned a start in place of the struggling 2004 AL Rookie of the Year and made several nice defensive plays.
Crosby, who was lifted for pinch-hitter Todd Walker in the ninth a night earlier, is batting .190 (4-for-21) with no home runs or RBIs—and is 1-for-10 in his last three starts.
Tadahito Iguchi returned to Chicago’s lineup after getting a day off to rest and nurse a bruised finger. … A’s CF Milton Bradley had the day off, leaving his hitting streak against the White Sox intact at 23 games. … Calero made his 200th appearance.