CHICAGO — Lanky left-hander Chris Sale continued his quest toward his first 20-win season, striking out 11 and scattering six hits as the Chicago White Sox topped the visiting A’s 7-3 on Sunday.
In his third outing of 10 or more strikeouts this season, Sale (14-3) once again was nothing short of outstanding, giving up just two solo home runs while not allowing a walk to the A’s (61-53).
The White Sox, meanwhile, remained in first place in the American League Central, improving to 62-51.
Jonny Gomes and Adam Rosales took Sale deep, and Derek Norris hit a solo shot in the ninth, but that wasn’t enough to keep pace with the White Sox, who busted the game open with a five-run sixth inning.
“We have to keep grinding and playing with intensity,” manager Bob Melvin said.
A’s starter Bartolo Colon allowed five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work, but was victimized by a poor day in the field for the A’s, who tallied three errors and a series of defensive lapses, including one in the seventh.
In the inning, A.J. Pierzynski led off with a single. A’s third baseman Adam Rosales and shortstop Cliff Pennington collided while trying to make the play on a grounder by Alexei Ramirez. Pennington managed to recover to throw out Ramirez at first.
But while the A’s nonchalantly thought the play was over, Pierzynski smartly continued around the bases and scored from first, with the A’s not having anyone near home plate to challenge Pierzynski.
“It wasn’t our best defensive day,” Melvin said. “The play that was embarrassing obviously was when Pierzynski went all the way around.”
The A’s have a day off today before continuing their road trip with a three-game set at Kansas City. Oakland is coming off a 25-game streak that saw it go 15-10 against teams with a winning record. They now play 16 of their next 19 games against teams that are currently under .500, starting with the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
As if the loss — and the way the A’s suffered it — wasn’t bad enough news, they got more disturbing news after the game.
Third baseman Brandon Inge may miss a significant amount of playing time with the dislocated right shoulder he suffered in Saturday’s game.
“It may be a little longer than we expected,” Melvin said. “We’re going to fly him home [Monday)] and he’s going to have an MRI. You hold out hope it won’t be a while, but it could be.”