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Game #144: Donaldson, Lester push A's past White Sox in 11-2 laugher

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The A's racked up 18 hits in an 11-2 win on Chicago's South Side Tuesday, potentially giving them a spark of momentum they need

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It didn't have to be pretty, but it did have to be a win. And on a night when the White Sox made a whopping five errors, the A's made absolutely sure they left U.S. Cellular Field with a win, this one a laugher that blossomed in the 9th inning when Oakland put the nails in the coffin of a 11-2 victory.

The A's racked up 18 hits on the evening, five of which came from Josh Donaldson, directly on the heels of his four-strikeout night in Monday's 5-4 Oakland loss. But he was far from the only contributor — Jonny Gomes added two, including a line-drive double to left field, and Derek Norris added three, pushing his batting average to .277.

The Athletics' all-around performance wasn't too shabby, either. Jon Lester cruised through his first six innings before faltering somewhat in the 7th and 8th. He did allow two runs in the 7th on a home run from Dayan Vicideo and an RBI double from Carlos Sanchez, but escaped the inning without further damage, mainly thanks to a Reddick-Callaspo-Donaldson relay to nab Sanchez at third base and end the inning.

The 8th inning was particularly scary, following a hit-by-pitch issued to Adam Eaton and a single to Jose Abreu. It took a nice backhanded play in the hole, spin, and throw to second base from Jed Lowrie to retire Avisail Garcia, batting with the game's tying run on deck.

Lester started the next at-bat, the next from Viciedo, with runners at the corners already having thrown 115 pitches, but still managed to blow a fastball at the letters right by the Chicago designated hitter, then making him watch another sail by for the third strike and the end of the best offensive opportunity the White Sox had in the late innings.

Oakland's rental ace finished the night at 119 pitches, allowing two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks. Most other nights, Lester probably would've been pulled after giving up two runs on a home run and a line-drive double in the 7th. But tonight Bob Melvin was taking no chances, and clearly trusted Lester for the 8th more than he trusted his bullpen.

The most refreshing aspect of tonight's game was the bottom line: the A's beat a clearly inferior team, and did so decisively. They didn't squander opportunities, they didn't play down to their opponents' level — for the first time in a while, the A's did exactly what they were supposed to do. With two series against Texas and another against Philadelphia remaining on Oakland's schedule,

There was some bad news — Craig Gentry left the game with a concussion after a violent fifth-inning collision with Carlos Sanchez, having reached first after a push bunt just as Sanchez reached the bag, looking upward for an errant throw from pitcher John Danks. Gentry's helmet went flying and he hit the ground hard, where he stayed for roughly two minutes before he returned to the dugout.

With MLB's concussion protocol, Gentry likely won't be back for a while. That means more playing time for Josh Reddick, Jonny Gomes, and maybe even Billy Burns. The A's don't have much depth to begin with, and losing a player like Gentry isn't good news, especially with Coco Crisp's propensity to crash into a wall at full speed every other week and tweak something in Darth Vader-type neck.

For now, the A's can bask in the glory of an 11-2 blowout, one that should give them some much-needed momentum headed into the final two games of the series with Chicago and heading into a huge three-game, weekend set at Seattle. The A's play next at 5:10pm tomorrow evening, with Jeff Samardzija opposing Chicago's Chris Bassitt, making just his second MLB start.