The White Sox have fought their way to .500, and it only took the first sweep of the Athetlics in Oakland since 1997 to get there.
Today's affair resembled the first two, at least until the end. Avisail Garcia's mammoth two-run shot to center in the ninth inning pushed the game beyond a save situation, and so Robin Ventura only had to use Jeff Samardzija and Zach Putnam.
Like the first two games, the White Sox waited for the A's to slip up, and then pounced. They fell behind 2-1 after four innings when Samardzija surrendered Max Muncy's first career homer, but if anybody was starting to mutter about the trade, Marcus Semien wouldn't allow it. He couldn't handle a not-that-hard hop on Adam Eaton's grounder, and that's when the floodgates eased open.
Eaton moved to second on an Emilio Bonfacio single, and a 6-4 fielder's choice put runners on the corners for Jose Abreu, who smashed a single under the glove of Brett Lawrie to tie the game at 2 and put Scott Kazmir on the ropes, where, as the mixed metaphor goes, they bled him dry.
Garcia hit a bouncer to second, but miscommunication between Muncy and Eric Sogard resulted in a botched play that Garcia beat out. Gordon Beckham then took a 3-2 pitch low for the run-scoring walk.
Kazmir could have gotten out of the inning when he got Alexei Ramirez to hit a chopper back to the mound. If he fields it, it's a 1-2-3 double play. If he lets it go, it's probably a 6-4-3 double play. But because it's Oakland, the ball glanced off Kazmir's glove and into shallow left field. Two runs scored, and the White Sox led comfortably the rest of the way.
Samardzija took advantage of the run support, picking up his third win after an ugly start against Milwaukee cost the Sox the only loss on this 5-1 road trip. He looked shaky early, needing a couple of smooth 4-6-3 double plays to avoid trouble in the first and third innings. He gave up the homer to Muncy in the fourth, then allowed another run in the fifth when Billy Burns singled, stole second and made it the rest of the way on grounders.
But the A's only tallied one hit after the fifth inning, with Samardzija working three of those frames. He probably would've been lifted at the first sign of trouble in the eighth, but it was an easy 1-2-3 inning, with a popout on his 120th pitch. David Robertson was ready for the ninth, but when Garcia hit his blast to center, Putnam finished off the game with ease instead.
The Sox, once again, played errorless ball. The A's, once again, screwed up plenty, including two first-inning errors that put the Sox on the board. Eaton led off with a hustle double, then took third on Bonifacio's sac bunt. Bonifacio himself took first on a Kazmir error, and a walk to Abreu loaded the bases.
Kazmir then appeared to get out of the jam when Garcia hit a weak comebacker. Kazmir flipped to Stephen Vogt for the force at home, but Vogt's throw to first sailed and allowed the Sox to take a 1-0 lead. The A's committed four errors in all, and two of the White Sox' seven runs were unearned.
Record: 17-17 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights