OAKLAND, CA – The White Sox and the Athletics were back in action on Thursday afternoon in the finale of their four game series in the bay. Mat Latos got the start for the White Sox, opposed by A’s starter Kendall Graveman. The White Sox won the first two games of the series before dropping game three last night.
White Sox starting pitching has been nothing short of excellent over the first three games, having thrown 19.2 innings while striking out 21 hitters and walking just two.
Both Mat Latos, and Kendall Graveman were excellent through the first five innings of the ballgame, but in the top of the sixth inning Graveman allowed a lead off walk to White Sox left-fielder Melky Cabrera, followed by a two run home run to White Sox first-baseman Jose Abreu, giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead.
Graveman would exit the game after that home run only allowing those two runs, on three base hits over his 5.1 innings pitched on the afternoon. A’s reliever Fernando Rodriguez would retire Avisail Garcia, and J.B. Shuck to end the inning with the White Sox up 2-0 after six innings in Oakland.
Mat Latos would continue the trending of solid White Sox starting pitching this week as he threw six innings while allowing no runs on just one hit, and one walk on Thursday afternoon. Latos exited the game after the sixth inning in line to pick up the win, with the White Sox leading 2-0 at the seventh inning stretch.
Zach Duke entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning and allowed a dreaded lead off walk to A’s third-baseman Danny Valencia, who advanced to second on a wild pitch on the next at-bat. Steven Vogt singled softly to right-field to set the A’s up with runners at the corners with nobody out. Duke struck out A’s second-baseman Chris Coghlan before being replaced by Matt Albers.
Adam Eaton doubled in the top of the eighth inning, extending his on base streak to 26 consecutive games, dating back to September 9 of last season. Eaton also has a 13 game hitting streak dating back to September 24th of last season as well.
Nate Jones worked around a lead off walk of his own in the home half of the eighth after retiring the next three A’s hitters in order.
The White Sox got the bats working again in the top of the ninth inning. A base hit by Avisail Garcia, and a stolen base by Austin Jackson who pinch ran for Garcia put an important insurance run on second with one out. After the J.B. Shuck strike out, Brett Lawrie singled into right field moving Jackson over to third base.
Dioner Navarro plated Jackson in the next at bat with a missile of a line drive off of the right field wall for an RBI single, stretching the White Sox lead to three. Tyler Saladino notched his first RBI of the season with a base hit into right-field that scored Brett Lawrie, and made it a 4-0 White Sox lead. Adam Eaton added a base hit to the rally, his ninth hit in 17 at-bats so far this season. Eaton Also became the first White Sox player to have multiple hits, in the first four games of the season since Nellie Fox in 1955.
With the bases loaded, Melky Cabrera smacked an RBI single into left field scoring Dioner Navarro, and stretching the Sox lead to five runs. Jose Abreu collected his third RBI of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly to right-field, making it a 6-0 Sox lead.
Zach Putnam allowed a run, on a couple base hits in the bottom of the ninth before getting the final out and wrapping up the 6-1 victory for the Pale Hoes on the afternoon.
Series Summary: The White Sox took three of four games from the A’s this week, and will head home with a 3-1 record, their best start since 2005. I don’t think we need to state what that 3-1 start in 05′ led to, do we? The White Sox starting pitching was dominant, and their defense was just as good this series. The White Sox did all the things this series that they lacked in 2015…Solid pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting.
On Deck: The White Sox will get on a plane back to Chicago, and get reacquainted with the chilly Chicago April temperatures as they take on the Cleveland Indians in a weekend tilt before going back out on the road for a long road trip. John Danks will take the ball for the White Sox on Friday afternoon in the home opener.