With David Robertson on paternity leave, Tommy Kahnle was Rick Renteria’s last line of defense. And like Renteria often does with Robertson, he used him in a tie game on the road.
What would’ve happened after that, we won’t know, because Franklin Barreto won an eight-pitch battle by hitting a high fly that barely cleared the left-field wall for the walk-off homer.
It was great at-bat by Barreto, who fouled off a high fastball and laid off a low changeup before turning on a full-count fastball that happened to be Kahnle’s slowest of the sequence (96.4 mph). Melky Cabrera drifted with it to the wall, but it exceeded his leap for the A’s fourth and final homer of the game.
James Shields gave up the other three, just like he did the last time he faced Oakland. One was a similar wall-scraper by Yonder Alonso that drifted, and drifted, and drifted over the wall in right despite looking too high off the bat. The ones before that — Matt Joyce’s two-run shot in the third, and Alonso’s two-run shot in the fifth — had the look off the bat.
Alonso’s second homer was doubly painful, not just because the Athletics’ third consecutive two-run inning put them ahead 6-5. It’s that Khris Davis reached on a cued infield single the batter before, and Rick Renteria came out to visit Shields, but didn’t remove him. Shields has now given up 10 homers in 36 innings this season.
The White Sox used the long ball fairly effectively themselves, even if they only hit half of them. After Adam Engel reached because Barreto needed an extra step to transfer the ball from glove to hand on a grounder up the middle, Melky Cabrera blasted his 10th homer of the season to right, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead.
After Oakland jumped ahead 4-2 through four, Jose Abreu struck back. He came to the plate with runners on the corners after two singles and a fielder’s choice by Cabrera. It should’ve been a 1-6-3 double play, but Daniel Gossett turned himself around on the mound before throwing to second, and Cabrera beat the throw. Abreu then waited back on a first-pitch curveball and beat it out to left field on a line for a three-run homer.
The bullpens kept each other off the board until the ninth, when Tim Anderson’s legs helped tie the game. He singled through the left side with one out, beat a flip to second on Kevan Smith’s grounder up the middle, then scored on Cabrera’s two-out single to left, beating a decent throw easily. Abreu had a chance to put the Sox ahead again, but he could only ground out to third, giving Oakland a chance to take advantage of home field.
*Avisail Garcia returned to the lineup and went 1-for-4, snapping a 19 at-bat hitless streak. He also got trapped too close to the wall on a Barreto drive to right, turning a double into a triple, but the runs remained the same.
*Shields’ final line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HR.
*Not a fan of Renteria pinch-running at first base with his fastest guys, then bunting them over. He did that with Alen Hanson after an Omar Narvaez single, and he ended up getting as far as Narvaez would’ve after a “successful” Engel bunt.