The A’s did enough good things that could have equated to victory Wednesday night.
But they were undone by untimely mistakes -- not for the first time lately --and the result was a damaging 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Two miscues in the bottom of the eighth helped lead to a two-run rally for the home team that erased a 1-0 A’s lead, not to mention a terrific effort from starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.
Avisail Garcia singled home two runs with a two-out single off Luke Gregerson in the eighth. But the inning took a sour turn for Oakland from the get-go. Second baseman Eric Sogard ranged right but couldn’t come up with a diving stop on Carlos Sanchez’s grounder that went for a leadoff single. Then Adam Eaton hit a potential double play ball to first baseman Nate Freiman, whose throw to second went wide right for an error and put two runners aboard with no outs. A wild pitch from Gregerson moved runners over to second and third.
Gregerson struck out Jose Abreu, but after Conor Gillaspie was intentionally walked, Gregerson left a pitch up in the zone that Garcia banged into center for the go-ahead hit.
The A’s are now 28-35 in gmaes decided by two runs or fewer.
Starting pitching report
Samardzija, an Indiana native pitching in his Midwest roots, was terrific over seven scoreless innings. He scattered six hits, struck out six and walked two. His emotion was apparent, as he pumped his fist walking off the mound following a strikeout of Gillaspie on a 95 MPH fastball in the sixth.
The right-hander turned in one of his best starts as an Athletic and deserved a victory.
Gregerson, another local product, was pitching in front of a large contingent of family and friends decked in A’s gear at U.S. Cellular Field. He entered in the eighth in relief of Samardzija and nearly worked his way around the defensive mess.
He notched strikeouts of Alexei Ramirez and Abreu on sliders. But he did uncork the wild pitch that moved two runners into scoring position. Then Garcia delivered the damaging blow that sent the A’s to their 10th loss in 13 games.
At the plate
One night after registering 18 hits and 11 runs, the A’s were held to five hits and a single run.
Adam Dunn’s opposite-field single drove home Coco Crisp in the fourth to give the A’s a 1-0 lead, but that was it. In the eighth, Crisp reached on a walk. Rather than have Sam Fuld sacrifice the runner over, he was allowed to swing away and popped out. Once again, A’s pitchers were left with an extremely small margin for error.
In the field
Josh Donaldson highlighted the A’s defensive effort with a couple of terrific plays at third. He dove to his left and made a terrific stab on Gillaspie’s fourth-inning liner. Then he went airborne and snagged Josh Phegley’s liner in the seventh. His throw to first trying to double off Andy Wilkins went for an error, but it wasn’t that bad of a throw.
But the A’s hurt themselves with their defensive adventures in the eighth, another example of them finding ways to lose a winnable game.
The A’s will try to take the finale of this four-game series Thursday behind Scott Kazmir (14-7, 3.42). Cy Young candidate Chris Sale (11-3, 2.09) goes for the White Sox. The lefty has made nine career appearances against Oakland, but just four of those were starts. He’s 2-2 with 3.62 ERA against the A’s.