Suzuki homer in 9th lifts A’s past White Sox, 6-4

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Kurt Suzuki gave the slumping Oakland Athletics something to celebrate.

Suzuki hit a game-winning, pinch-hit two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning and the A’s rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 on Friday night for just their fifth win since the All-Star break.

“Any time you can get a win against a caliber club like the White Sox are, it’s definitely huge,” said Suzuki, who didn’t start after playing in all 12 innings of Oakland’s 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday. “I knew at the worst it was going to be a sacrifice fly. Our team battled to the end.”

Jack Cust added a pair of home runs for the A’s, who had lost four of their previous five and 17 of 20 before their comeback against Chicago.

Huston Street (3-5) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win as Oakland beat Chicago for the 28th time in the last 34 games between the two teams at McAfee Coliseum.

“It really brought the emotion level up,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We really haven’t had a ton of excitement the last few weeks to that magnitude so it was big.”

Pinch-hitter Emil Brown doubled off Horacio Ramirez (1-2) leading off the ninth and pinch-runner Cliff Pennington was sacrificed to third. Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen replaced Ramirez with reliever D.J. Carrasco, who worked a full count on Suzuki before Oakland’s catcher hit a fastball over the left-field wall for his sixth home run of the season.

It was Suzuki’s second career ending home run and his second pinch-hit homer this year. It was the first pinch-hit, game-winning homer by an A’s player since Scott Hatteberg did it against Kansas City on September 4, 2002.

“We obviously played a long game yesterday and knowing we’ve got a day game tomorrow, we didn’t need to play those extra innings,” Suzuki said. “(Carrasco) actually threw me all sliders up until a fastball that was up and in. That was the only fastball I saw the whole count except for that last pitch.”

Carlos Quentin hit his 33rd home run for Chicago to tie Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard for the major league lead but it wasn’t enough as the White Sox lost for only the fourth time in their last 11 games. They fell into a first-place tie with Minnesota in the AL Central. The Twins beat Seattle 9-3 earlier in the night.

Quentin streak of being hit by a pitch ended at six. Quentin became the only player since 1920 to get hit by a pitch in that many consecutive contests, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

A.J. Pierzynski also homered as part of a three-run first inning for the White Sox, who led 4-2 going into the bottom of the eighth before Oakland rallied with three home runs over the final two innings.

“They always play good against us,” Guillen said. “We couldn’t get anything going after the first inning. Their pitching held us down. Everybody in this clubhouse knows this was a tough loss. We don’t have to dwell on it.”

Mark Ellis and Cust hit solo homers in the eighth off Octavio Dotel to tied the game for Oakland.

White Sox starter Gavin Floyd carried a shutout into the sixth before Cust’s two-run homer pulled Oakland to 3-2. Cust’s home run came after Chicago third baseman Juan Uribe dropped Frank Thomas’ popup in foul territory for an error. Thomas then singled, and one out later, Cust homered.

It was only the third time in the last 20 games that Cust has homered. He went into the game having struck out in a team-record 19 straight games but ended the streak and went 3-for-3 with three RBIs.

Chicago wasted two opportunities to score late in the game. In the eighth, pinch-runner Brian Anderson tried to score from first after Jerry Blevins’ pickoff attempt sailed past Oakland first baseman Daric Barton, but Barton retrieved the ball and threw a perfect strike to catcher Rob Bowen to get Anderson. Alexei Ramirez was then caught trying to steal after singling with one out in the ninth.

Oakland starter Dallas Braden gave up three runs in the first, including Pierzynski’s 11th homer of the season. Jim Thome added an RBI single and Paul Konerko’s sacrifice fly drove in Jermaine Dye to make it 3-0.


Chicago’s two home runs increased its major league-leading total to 174. On Thursday, the White Sox tied a major league record by hitting four consecutive home runs in a 9-2 win over Kansas City. … An MRI on Oakland OF Ryan Sweeney’s right thumb showed no damage. Sweeney went on the 15-day DL on Wednesday. … Before the game the White Sox recalled LHP Clayton Richard from Triple-A Charlotte. Richard took the roster spot of RHP Lance Broadway, who was optioned to Charlotte on Thursday. … Chicago CF Nick Swisher went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch in his return to Oakland. Swisher spent his first four seasons with the A’s before being traded to the White Sox in the offseason. … The A’s agreed to terms with RHP Brett Hunter, their seventh-round draft pick in this year’s draft.

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