Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rollins, Frazier power White Sox past A's

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit a tiebreaking homer off A's closer Sean Doolittlewith two outs in the ninth inning to give the White Sox their second win in as many tries against Oakland, 5-4, at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.
"You have to keep calm and fight through the excitement," Rollins said. "You understand you are on their home ground and every time they do something, it's going to be great and the crowd is going to get behind them.
"Players start feeling it, and they get into it, too. You fight your way through it. You find a way to go ahead and fight back."
Third baseman Todd Frazier also hit a home run, his first in a White Sox uniform coming in the form of a three-run shot in the fifth off A's starter Chris Bassitt, who allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings against his former team.
"He's one of the best bad-ball hitters in the game, and I have to make a lot worse pitch than I did there," Bassitt said. "He makes a living off of it."
Chicago lefty Jose Quintana lasted 5 2/3 innings, limiting the A's to two runs -- shortstopJed Lowrie being responsible for both, giving him four RBIs in the series -- while striking out seven. That's all the A's would get until the eighth inning, when they tied the game on a two-out, two-run single from first baseman Yonder Alonso against right-hander Nate Jones.
Leading the way: Adam Eaton has a stretch of 24 consecutive games in which he has reached base, dating back to Sept. 9. He has reached base six times total in the first two games, with five hits and a hit by pitch on Rich Hill's first delivery of the season on Monday.
Fielder's (wrong) choice: There's a scenario in which Frazier's home run could've been avoided altogether: Lowrie, fielding a routine ground ball to second base off the bat of Rollins with one out in the inning, would've easily completed the second out had he thrown the ball to first rather than try for a play at second, where Eaton -- running on the play -- beat the throw. Bassitt struck out the next batter, Jose Abreu, to bring Frazier to the plate. But after the game, A's manager Bob Melvin said he had no problem with Lowrie throwing to second.
"You're always trying to get that lead runner," Melvin said, "and whether it's a shovel or whether it's a step to your side and throw it a little bit harder ... first, we're trying to get an out. Certainly he felt like that was the play, and Eaton just beat it."
Steady as always: Quintana didn't seem to have the usual rhythm and cadence he's displayed over most of his starts, especially in the last few innings. But the White Sox left-hander once again pitched well enough to win and got rare run support in this instance. Quintana fanned seven and didn't issue a walk, meaning White Sox starters have fanned 15 and walked one over 12 2/3 innings this season, but he still finished with a Major League-high 53rd no-decision since 2012.
"That's a lot of no-decisions," Quintana said. "But hopefully this year that changes and every time I think the next one."
One-run blues: The A's dropped 35 one-run games in 2015, and each of their two losses in 2016 have been of the one-run variety. Defensive lapses cost them in both games, but Tuesday's ending was largely reminiscent of last year's bullpen struggles. That's not expected to be the norm, though. Before Doolittle's offering to Rollins in the ninth, A's relievers had strung together 9 2/3 scoreless innings to begin the season.
"I felt really good. I had swing-and-miss stuff tonight, and when I had to make a pitch with two outs and two strikes in a tie ballgame in the ninth, I didn't do it," Doolittle said. "It's really tough to come back in here, one-run loss again, at home, looking to get a win after a tough loss last night and the guys rallied to come back. I'm disgusted with myself."
"I've had a couple of big games here in high school. Found a way to win those also. So hopefully we keep that up for a couple of more days before we get out of town." -- Rollins, who delivered the game-winner in his Oakland homecoming
Tuesday's victory gives Robin Ventura 299 wins in his fifth season as White Sox manager. Ventura has managed 650 games with the South Siders, which is the 10th-most in franchise history.
White Sox: Carlos Rodon gets the call on Wednesday as the White Sox seek their third straight win over the A's at 9:05 p.m. CT. After making 23 starts among his 26 appearances in 2015, the lefty begins the current campaign as a full-fledged member of the starting rotation. Rodon's 139 strikeouts last season placed him second in franchise history among rookie strikeout totals.
A's: Ace Sonny Gray will make his much-anticipated season debut on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. PT against the White Sox, after being scratched from his scheduled Opening Day start because of a flu bug. The right-hander went 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA in 2015, finishing third in American League Cy Young voting.

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