This time, outside of a couple bad baserunning breaks by Avisail Garcia, the White Sox played sturdy, professional baseball and waited for the A's to slip up. Sure enough, the team that came in with errors in 12 straight games extended it to an unlucky 13.
With the game a tied at 2, two outs and nobody on, Adam Eaton stirred the drink with a beautiful drag bunt. It had plenty of backspin and checked up when it hit the grass, forcing Fernando Rodriguez to quickly plan and throw. Which he did, but the throw got past Mark Canha and rolled and rolled and rolled into O.co Coliseum's expansive foul territory, putting the go-ahead run on third after a mere bunt single.
The White Sox took advantage, with Melky Cabrera muscling a high 0-1 fastball over shortstop for the go-ahead single, and Jose Abreu chasing home Cabrera by swatting a double to the wall in left center.
That second run turned out to be huge, because the A's did put one run on the board in the eighth. But baseball is really hard for the A's right now -- they scored just the one run on four hits, and it scored on a beautiful 4-6-3 double play started by Carlos Sanchez. They did turn the screws enough to bring in David Robertson for a four-out save, but he stranded the tying run on second with a flyout, and then induced three more of them to end the game.
Robertson, who blew a save after a beautiful start by John Danks the last time out, didn't do the same this time. Danks gave up a two-run, opposite-field homer to Billy Butler in the first inning, and then pretty much pitched mistake-free baseball afterward. He allowed just three hits and three walks over seven innings, and zero hits after the second inning.
The Sox had no problems getting hits themselves, but they had some issues converting them into runs early on.
Garcia botched one opportunity in the second. He led off with a double, but on Conor Gillaspie's single to the strong-armed Josh Reddick in right, Garcia blew through the stop sign, then held up when he had time to retreat to third. He was tagged out between third and home, and the Sox didn't score despite starting the inning with a pair of hits.
But he redeemed himself an inning later. The Sox build one of their methodical rallies with a pair of one-out singles, and Adam LaRoche loaded the bases with a walk after Abreu struck out. Garcia fell behind Jesse Chavez 0-2, then alternated between taking and fighting off an array of fastballs to work the count full. On the ninth pitch, Chavez threw a ninth fastball, and Garcia served it to center for a two-run single to tie the game.
It really was a mixed bag of a game for Garcia. He was perfect at the plate (3-for-3 with a walk) but quite imperfect on the basepaths. Along with the gaffe in the second, he didn't get to second on a wild pitch that LaRoche took third on, which kept the double play in store. Garcia did avoid getting doubled off on Gillaspie's lineout, but the lack of advancement came back to bite the Sox when Alexei Ramirez hit into a double play to end it.
The Sox played errorless ball, though (including a nice running catch by Garcia in foul territory), and they racked up 16 baserunners (13 hits, two walks, one HBP). Cleaning up the baserunning might be the final frontier.