Athletics 4, White Sox 3 (10 innings): Walk-off walk extends skid to five

Thearon W. Henderson

Hector Santiago can't escape second bases-loaded jam during a day full of extended and excruciating developments

The White Sox continued their pained brand of baseball, so it's only fitting that this game ended in an excruciating manner: a bases-loaded walk by Hector Santiago.

The game-ending free pass was his fifth over 1 1/3 innings, he dealt with packed sacks in both of them. He was able to escape a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation in the ninth by getting a 6-2-3 double play, intentionally walking Coco Crisp, and coming back from down 2-0 to strike out Eric Sogard.

He wasn't so fortunate in the 10th. After a leadoff lineout by Jed Lowrie, Santiago gave up a double to Chris Young. He intentionally walked Yoenis Cespedes (who burned him for a 14th-inning homer at the Coliseum last year), but unintentionally walked Josh Donaldson to load the bases. Brandon Moss followed with a screamer to second, but Jeff Keppinger got down to glove it for the second out.

Five pitches later, the A's were celebrating around home plate. Santiago started Josh Reddick with a first-pitch strike, but didn't make him take the bat off his shoulder.

That concluded a game full of small moments in which the White Sox, ostensibly professionals, made baseball look unusually difficult.

They fell behind 2-0 over the first two innings, while blowing a golden first-inning chance themselves. With one out and runners on second and third in the first inning, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko struck out. The third inning almost followed the same script, as Alex Rios struck out with a runner on third and one out. But Dunn atoned for his first-inning failure by rifling a single through the right side to cut Oakland's lead in half.

The fifth inning was loaded with such disturbing moments. After Cespedes reached on a leadoff single, Jose Quintana picked him off. A five-throw rundown later, Cespedes returned to the dugout. Donaldson replaced Cespedes at first with his own single, then moved to second when Quintana caught a spike and fell over during his delivery, which is a balk.

Donaldson then came around to score when Alejandro De Aza couldn't run down Nate Freiman's deep drive to center ... then hit the wall himself, fell down, and lost track of where the ball bounced. By the time he recovered it, Freiman had his first MLB triple, and it was a leisurely one.

Eventually the Sox were able to tie it up with a professional-looking rally. With one out and Sean Doolittle on the mound, Jeff Keppinger shot a single to right field, then moved to third on Hector Gimenez's double down the line. De Aza then came to the plate and paid a difficult matchup no mind, lining a single to center to tie the game at 3.

The offense went quiet after that. The A's foiled their best opportunity in the ninth. Keppinger led off with a single, then was put in motion for a hit-and-run with De Aza. De Aza hit a hard liner to the left side, which would usually be vacated on such a play. But Lowrie didn't move, and he was right in position to make the catch and throw to first for the 6-3 double play.

Bullet points:

*Another ugly play: Alexei Ramirez ranged well into left field to flag down a Cespedes pop-up, calling for it all the way. Instead of pulling up, Dayan Viciedo delivered a forearm shiver into Ramirez's back. And people wonder why Ramirez isn't that aggressive in the outfield.

*Keppinger made a few difficult plays at second, and the scorer spared him an error when he was caught in between a backhand and a square play on Lowrie's hard grounder to his right side.

*Quintana lasted only 5⅓ innings, allowing 10 hits and three walks while striking out four. He somehow limited hte damage to three runs. The A's drew eight walks on the day; the Sox only walked once.

*Konerko took some terrible swings while striking out twice against Dan Straily, so it wasn't particularly surprising when Casper Wells replaced him halfway through due to a stiff neck.

*The White Sox haven't held a lead at any point over this losing streak.

Record: 24-29 | Box score | Play-by-play

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