OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — One after another, the starting pitchers for the Oakland Athletics are shutting down opponents and making up for most of the club’s shortcomings.
Especially the back of the bullpen.
Jesse Chavez struck out seven and came up an inning short of his first complete game, and the A’s held on to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 on Monday night for their season-high fifth straight win.
“We all feed off of each other,” Chavez said. “And I think that’s what makes a good staff.”
Chavez (3-1) gave up five hits and walked two for the AL-West leading A’s, who have outscored opponents 28-8 during the winning streak. The former reliever allowed only solo home runs to Dayan Viciedo and Jose Abreu, whose major-league leading 14th long ball in the ninth chased the right-hander.
Josh Donaldson hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fifth, and Josh Reddick hit a tying triple in the second off John Danks (3-3) during Oakland’s win. Jed Lowrie added a two-run double in the seventh that proved pivotal after the White Sox scored three runs in the ninth and nearly forced extra innings.
Left-hander Sean Doolittle recorded the final three outs, striking out pinch-hitter Tyler Flowers and Leury Garcia to strand the tying runner on second.
“Didn’t want it to get to that point, but that’s how it got there,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Danks gave up six hits and three runs in six innings, striking out five and walking two. Chicago, which has lost four of five, came up just short and too late.
“It wasn’t a lack of trying. Sometimes you hit it and it’s right at people,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who was agitated after a 5-1 home loss to Arizona on Sunday, calling it “uninspired” effort.
After Abreu’s homer, Fernando Abad walked Adam Dunn. Then struggling Jim Johnson gave up a double to Viciedo and an RBI single to Alexei Ramirez, setting off another shower of boos.
Pinch-hitter Paul Konerko’s sacrifice fly sliced Oakland’s lead to 5-4 before Doolittle struck out the final two batters for his second save this season.
“I think it was important for me tonight not getting caught up in the moment of trying to get the save and stop the bleeding,” Doolittle said.
The AL-West leading A’s, coming off a home sweep of Washington, added another layer of frustration for a Chicago team beginning a nine-game road trip that also stops in Houston and Kansas City.
The White Sox spent about eight hours on a plane Sunday night because of storms in Chicago that delayed their flight to the Bay Area, then they played a late game on the West Coast.
They still started strong but wasted an opportunity to retake the lead when they advanced runners to second and third on Chavez’s wild pitch in the fifth. Conor Gillaspie hit a hard line drive with two outs — but right into center fielder Craig Gentry’s glove.
Then came Donaldson’s drive in the fifth, lining a 2-0 fastball into the seats in left for his eighth home run. Lowrie added a two-run double off reliever Daniel Webb in the seventh to stretch Oakland’s lead to 5-1.
Chavez kept inducing quick outs and nearly finished the game himself. He had never completed more than seven innings, which he has done three times this year.
Chavez has allowed one earned run or fewer in six of his eight starts this season. The A’s are a 7-1 when he pitches.
“We faced him in the spring. He’s good,” Dunn said. :He’s going to be around the strike zone. When a guy has that many pitches, you try to get him early. It didn’t work out.”
NOTES Athletics CF Coco Crisp took swings in batting practice before sitting out for the fifth straight game with a strained neck. He is day to day. ... White Sox LHP Chris Sale, out since April 17 because of a strained muscle near his left elbow, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday. ... LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-1, 1.45 ERA) makes his second start for the A’s opposite Chicago’s Scott Carroll on Tuesday.