OAKLAND,CA – The Chicago White Sox opened the 2016 season on the west coast on Monday night versus the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum. White Sox ace Chris Sale opposed A’s starter Rich Hill after Sonny Gray was scratched earlier in the afternoon due to food poisoning.
Chris Sale retired the A’s six up-six down in the first two frames of the evening. Austin Jackson walked with one out in the top of the third, then advanced first to third on an errant pick-off attempt by A’s starter Rich Hill that traveled into the right-field bullpen. Jackson scored when lead-off hitter Adam Eaton hit a deep fly ball into center-field for an RBI triple. In the following at-bat Jimmy Rollins singled to right-field, scoring Eaton and giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead.
Jose Abreu cracked a deep double on a line off of the left-field wall setting the Sox up with runners at second, and third base with only one out. After Todd Frazier struck out, left-fielder Melky Cabrera hit a ground ball up the middle which was corralled by A’s shortstop Marcus Semien, who’s throw was high, and bounced out of the glove of first-baseman Mark Canha allowing both Rollins and Abreu to score with Cabrera safe at first. A’s reliever Felix Rodriguez retired the side, the White Sox led the A’s 4-0 heading into the home half of the third.
In the bottom of the third inning the A’s trimmed the Sox lead to just one after Jed Lowrie plated a pair of runs with an RBI single to right-field after an infield single by catcher Steven Vogt, and a walk by former White Sox shortstop Marcus Semien. Danny Valencia followed Lowrie up with an RBI single of his own to center-field, plating Lowrie to make it a 4-3 White Sox lead after three innings.
After a rough third inning for Chris Sale, he settled in by shutting down the A’s for the next four innings. Sale threw seven innings on the evening, allowing three runs on seven hits, while striking out eight hitters.
The A’s bullpen was solid as well after Rich Hill was removed in the third inning, as Felix Rodriguez, Ryan Dull, John Axford, and Ryan Madson combined for 5.1 innings pitched, allowing just three base hits to White Sox hitters.