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White Sox 2, Athletics 1: Avisail Garcia finds the big hit

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Offense awakens with Oakland's help in eighth inning for classic spoiler win

Jonathan Daniel

In the battle of "it's not who you play, it's when you play them," well ... I'm not exactly sure how to declare the winner in such a war, but it's a better time to be playing the Athletics, especially if you like dramatic wins.

The White Sox pulled off their second dramatic win of the series, scoring both runs on a two-out, bases-loaded Avisail Garcia single to deny the struggling A's consecutive wins for the first time since Aug. 23. The Sox only went 1-for-10 in scoring position, but Garcia picked the perfect time to strike while picking up a teammate in the process.

Luke Gregerson, the Chicagoland native pitching in front of a few hundred supporters, might've wanted a better showing for himself. He didn't get much help, as Eric Sogard couldn't come up with a sliding backhand try on Carlos Sanchez's infield single, and Nate Freiman compounded problems by throwing well wide on his attempt to get the force at second. Instead of a 3-6-3 double play, the Sox had runners on first and second and nobody out.

Gregerson rebounded to strike out both Alexei Ramirez and Jose Abreu, although a wild pitch during the Abreu at-bat put two runners in scoring position. That altered the game, because with the base open, Gregerson intentionally walked Conor Gillaspie to bring Garcia to the plate.

After missing with a slider to start the at-bat, Gregerson came in with a fastball to Garcia, and Garcia muscled it to center for a two-run single. Both runs were unearned, but that's small solace for the A's. Jake Petricka pitched a 1-2-3 ninth -- starting with a strikeout of Adam Dunn -- for his 12th save.

Credit Chris Bassitt for keeping the Sox within striking distance. Going toe-to-toe with a far more seasoned pitcher in Jeff Samardzija, Bassitt allowed just one run over his six-plus innings of work. The A's tagged him for that tally in the top of the fourth when Coco Crisp singled, moved to second on a walk, then, after a double play, scored on Dunn's weak single just past Conor Gillaspie on the otherwise-vacated left side.

But he didn't allow Oakland to extend the lead any further, allowing just five hits and two walks while striking out six. The Sox minimized the A's scoring opportunities, too, as Oakland went just 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

It helped that the Sox played some pretty good defense tonight. After committing five errors on Tuesday, the Sox tightened their leather considerably, especially in the eighth inning. Zach Putnam walked Crisp to start the inning, then gave up a sinking liner to left. It didn't sink quick enough, as Jordan Danks raced in for a diving catch for the first out.

Josh Phegley then followed that gem by blocking a pitch in the dirt and recovering in time to get Crisp at second, and the bang-bang play held up under a review, too. Capping off the inning, Ramirez made one of his classic range-and-spin plays to his left to get Josh Donaldson to end the inning. Putnam ended up picking up the win, but he'd probably give it to his defense if he could.

Run prevention wasn't the issue for either team through seven innings. Samardzija stymied the Sox like he usually does, throwing seven shutout innings while allowing just six hits and two walks. He erased an Adam Eaton leadoff single in the first by stabbing Ramirez's hot shot and starting a 1-6-3 double play, and great stab on Ramirez's comebacker. Later, he erased Eaton after a leadoff single in the sixth by picking him off. Outside of the struggles with runners in scoring position for the first seven innings, that might've been the only mistake the Sox made all night.

Record: 65-80 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights