The Oakland Athletics dropped scored first this time, but could not hold onto their lead and could not add on many more, dropping the second game of this series against the Chicago White Sox 3-4. The loss is their ninth out of their last 10 and ensures yet another losing homestand. They end the day 13-25 and 11½ games behind the Houston Astros.
We can only take these things one game at a time. The defense was quite good tonight save an error by Fernando Rodgriguez that ultimately didn't matter much except perhaps to rattle him. Mark Canha saved a couple of Marcus Semien's low throws tonight at first base.
The A's 5-13 home record matches the 1994 A's for worst record after 18 home games in Oakland history.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) May 17, 2015
The Athletics scored first in this contest, and did so right off the bat in the first inning thanks to Billy Butler's two-run opposite field home run to the left of the 362 sign, his fourth of the year and first since April 22. It put two on the board, yes.
Jesse Chavez earned a shutdown second inning with some help from a baserunning error by Avisail Garcia. After Garcia reached on a leadoff double, Conor Gillaspie singled Josh Reddick on a soft line drive fielded cleanly by the former Gold Glove right fielder. Despite Reddick's defensive bona fides, Garcia ran through his stop sign as the throw came home to Stephen Vogt with Garcia about 30 feet down the line. Garcia actually had enough momentum going back to third to be safe if he kept going, but he looked back and froze as Vogt threw to third baseman Brett Lawrie, and the A's completed an easy 9-2-5-2 putout.
In the third, however, Chavez gave up a couple of ground ball singles, a walk, and Avisail Garcia made good on his running mistake by bringing two of those runs home on a two-out soft liner up the middle to Billy Burns.
John Danks, meanwhile, was pitching on easy mode after the first. After a lead off second inning double to Brett Lawrie, Danks allowed no other hits and walked three on the way to completing a seven-inning performance that included six strikeouts.
Jesse Chavez settled down as well. Despite getting up to 68 pitches after his 34-pitch third inning, Chavez threw an eight-pitch fourth, six-pitch fifth, and 13-pitch sixth. The A's defense(!) helped Jesse Chavez out with double plays in each of the fifth and sixth innings.
Here comes the bullpen
While the defense was surprisingly good, the bullpen was, well...it wasn't horrifically bad. It was bad enough to lose this particular game.
The seventh inning was handed to right-hander Fernando Rodriguez. He quickly recorded the first two outs! And then came the clownshow.
Adam Eaton looked to get aboard on a bunt single and he succeeded. And then Fernando Rodriguez was good enough to throw the ball into the outfield in a futile attempt to throw him out. And so Eaton advanced to third base on the two-base error.
Eaton scored on Melky Cabrera's single, and then the error ended up not mattering with Jose Abreu tomahawked a double to the left field gap. Fernando Abad came in and succeeded in striking out Adam LaRoche this time. Mercy.
But after that, the bullpen managed to not fall apart. Newest arrival Edward Mujica pulled together three outs in the eighth, allowing two singles but striking out one. Dan Otero only hit Jose Abreu, but otherwise recorded a 1-2-3 inning that included Coco Crisp's amazing backhanded catch deep to left in foul territory to record the second out for the good guys:
White Sox manager Robin Ventura threw pretty much all of Chicago's top bullpen arms at the Athletics in the eighth. Left-hander Zach Duke faced the first three batters. Leading off, Billy Burns reached on an infield single after second baseman Carlos Sanchez made an amazing stop that would have resulted in an out against any other runner.
Burns crucially advanced to third base on Marcus Semien's single to right, bringing up Josh Reddick with runners at the corners and nobody out. Reddick, however, bounced into a run-scoring 4-6-3 double play, making it 4-3 Chicago.
Robin Ventura called for right-hander Jake Petricka to face Billy Butler. Butler singled up the middle to keep the inning alive, and so Ventura turned to his other left-hander, Dan Jennings, to face Stephen Vogt. Stephen Vogt singled to left, and Ventura pulled out his trump card, closer David Robertson.
Brett Lawrie made a valiant effort against Robertson's offerings, and he had been 3-for-5 against Robertson entering the contest. Robertson threw six breaking pitches, and Lawrie flew out to center with an up-and-in offering that was probably a strike anyway.
Robertson faced Coco Crisp, Mark Canha, and Eric Sogard in the ninth, and retired them in order on three fly balls. Dagnabbit.
The A's will try to salvage the final game of this series before departing for a seven-game road trip to visit the Astros and Rays. Scott Kazmir will face Jeff Samardzija with first pitch at 1:05 PM. The A's are trying to win their second game in the presence of the big ball of sky fire in 13 tries.