The A's will wait even until the 10th inning, like they did Saturday afternoon, after Santiago had already issued four walks over 1 2/3 innings. They'll wait even if there are two outs and the bases loaded. They'll wait ... and wait ...
Until a guy like Josh Reddick, who was on the disabled list for more than three weeks until Friday's series opener, is up to bat. Reddick took a first-pitch fastball for a strike, waited on a curveball in the dirt, held off of two sinkers out of the zone, and on a 3-1 count, he waited again.
Standing straight with the bat resting on his left shoulder, Reddick took a slider that was high and inside, walking to end the game and hand the White Sox a 4-3 loss.
Welcome to Oakland.
"There were a few pitches that I thought definitely in that situation right there are other people out there that would probably swing at that," Santiago said, his words wanting to leave as fast as he probably did. "And they just kind of stood there, like, 'You can throw me a strike if you can,' you know? It's definitely tough because I feel like some of those pitches would be swung at in a different game."
The White Sox lost their fifth consecutive game, falling in front of 26,646 and dropping to 24-29. On Sunday they will try to avoid a three-game sweep to the A's, who moved to 33-24.
White Sox pitchers had stranded 18 runners before Reddick's walk-off walk. Santiago (1-4) stranded three of those runners when he entered the ninth with the game 3-3 and worked into and out of a bases-loaded jam. In the 10th, he allowed a one-out double to Chris Young, intentionally walked Yoenis Cespedes and got Brandon Moss on a lineout. But Reddick was worked into a favorable situation.
"The way he pitched [Eric] Sogard [in the ninth] and Moss, he threw a lot of fastballs, so that's why I was just sitting on something over the plate and trying to nibble," Reddick said. "On 3-1, I was taking the whole time.
"I didn't want to get too big and pop something up or run it over because we didn't need something hard and far. We needed a run either way, whether it was a walk or a bloop single."
The White Sox tied the game in the seventh on Alejandro De Aza's two-out single to center. It was the first time in the series that the White Sox bats really stung the A's, and it came against an unlikely pitcher, Sean Doolittle, who had been dominant this season.
"We were grinding out at-bats, doing stuff offensively, fighting our way back," manager Robin Ventura said. "I think there was progress. There's a silver lining to it, but again, you're here to win games. It's just one of those games where you get into a high-wire act as far as getting guys on and being a little erratic."
The White Sox managed six hits, one run and no walks off Oakland starter Dan Straily, who struck out eight in his six innings. Reliever Jerry Blevins (4-0) picked up the win by getting the final out in the top of the 10th.
Although White Sox starter Jose Quintana threw 50 pitches in the first two innings, he stayed in until Jed Lowrie's one-out double in the sixth. Quintana allowed three runs, 10 hits and three walks while striking out four.
The White Sox misfired a bit in the fifth inning. With Josh Donaldson on first, Quintana stumbled during his delivery to Nate Freiman, and Donaldson advanced to second on the balk. Then Freiman blasted a triple to left-center, bouncing it off the wall as center fielder De Aza struggled to locate the ball. It was an adventurous way to allow a run, and it left the White Sox with a 3-1 deficit.
The White Sox scored their first run on Adam Dunn's two-out single in the second inning, which cut the deficit to 2-1.
The runs Quintana allowed in each of the first two innings were scored by the A's player who led off the frame with a hit.
On Sunday, the White Sox will try to snap out of their slump in the series finale. As much they want it, they must not hurry, because the A's will surely be ready -- and waiting.