White Sox seek third straight win over lowly A’s originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
After scoring early and often one night, then late and hard the next, the Chicago White Sox go for a hat trick on Saturday afternoon when they continue their four-game streak against the host Oakland Athletics.
Although the A’s didn’t have many fans in the stands, the visiting White Sox thrilled those who came to watch the return of former Oakland players Elvis Andrus and Liam Hendricks, as well as University of California product Andrew Vaughn.
Andrus, who was released by the youth-conscious A’s last month, contributed a game-opening 14-2 onslaught Thursday before leading off the ninth Friday with a tiebreaking, two-run double .
Vaughn chipped in with an RBI single in Chicago’s five-run rally that won 5-3 on Friday, and Hendricks closed the door with a scoreless final in the ninth for his 32nd save.
The only people missing from the return so far are Josh Harrison, the 2021 A’s second baseman who has yet to see action in the series, and White Sox manager Tony La Russa, Oakland’s former champion skipper who has goes to the field due to health problems.
Of course, picking up a pair of wins in their pursuit of the American League Central title was the most important thing for the White Sox. Yoan Moncada, who had five hits, including two homers, in Thursday’s win noted that the series-opening laugh was just what he and his teammates needed with the finish line in front.
“Everybody’s having fun. Everybody’s relaxed,” he said. “And when the results are in our favor, that helps too.”
Friday’s win allowed the White Sox (71-68) to break into second place with the Minnesota Twins (69-68) and stay 1 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Guardians (71-65) in the AL Central.
Chicago will look to Lance Lynn (5-5, 4.34 ERA) to improve that position on Saturday.
The 35-year-old right-hander took the loss in the first game of the club’s series in Chicago in July, allowing five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings during a 7-3 loss. He has gone 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA in nine career starts against the A’s.
Lynn is undefeated in his last five starts overall, going 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA.
Barring an off-field injury like the one that put Austin Pruitt in the spotlight on Friday, the A’s (50-89) are expected to deal with Adrian Martinez (4-3, 4.37 ERA).
Martinez, a rookie right-hander, has pitched brilliantly since being recalled from the minors late last month, limiting the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles to a combined six hits and one run in 11 2/3 innings. He earned the win in both games.
The 25-year-old has never faced the White Sox.
Martinez would be wise to steal a tip or two from Pruitt, who shockingly no-hit the White Sox through five innings of emergency start Friday.
“He gave us what we needed,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said after watching Pruitt, in his first start of the season, match his season-high for pitches with 55, moving him from the no -hitter. “You really can’t say enough about what Pruitt has brought to this bullpen and to this team in general.”
Oakland dropped its fourth straight game and eighth time in its last nine games.
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