Troubles continue despite Sale's sharp six innings
Slide reaches season-high six games as Sox limited to three hits
OAKLAND -- On Saturday morning, with his team on a four-game losing streak, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that when things are bad, remember that they can always get worse.
Things are worse.
More specifically, things are as bad as a season-high six-game losing streak, the result of a 2-0 loss to the A's on Sunday in Oakland. The White Sox have been swept in consecutive three-game series, breaking the previous season-high losing streak of five, and have been shut out in three of their last six games.
The White Sox (24-30) have struggled mightily on offense recently, but on Sunday they were always a few swings away as starter Chris Sale went pitch-for-pitch with Oakland starter Jarrod Parker.
The A's (34-24) took a 1-0 lead in the sixth, and their pitchers had retired 15 consecutive batters before Alejandro De Aza's leadoff single in the ninth. Like it had all game, Chicago came up empty in the few chances -- three hits and two walks -- it had.
The White Sox managed two hits and two walks and struck out seven times during Parker's 6 1/3 innings.
"Again, you always gotta tip your hat to the pitcher, but when you're in a funk like this, how much goes on you? It goes on us," said Ventura, whose club struck out 11 times. "It has to come from somewhere. You just get tired of saying the same stuff every night, as far as struggling. Sale pitches a good game. It's tough to be a pitcher when you can't give up a run."
Neither team had a runner reach third until the sixth inning, when Oakland's Jed Lowrie hit a single that moved Coco Crisp there. Josh Donaldson's sacrifice fly to right plated Crisp to end Sale's scoreless streak at 28 innings.
It was the longest such streak for a White Sox pitcher since Wilson Alvarez's 31-inning stretch in 1993.
Sale (5-3, 2.44 ERA) was good, just not better than Parker (4-6, 4.90 ERA). Sale yielded four hits, one run and one walk while striking out five and recording a hit batter and balk.
"They never give up, that's for sure," Sale said of the A's batters. "A team like this, right when you think they're swinging, they start taking. And then right when you think they're taking, they start swinging. They're a very balanced lineup. … At the end of the day, I got outpitched by Parker."
The White Sox had just four runners in scoring position. Adam Dunn doubled high off the wall in straightaway center field with two outs in the fourth, inches away from a home run. Casper Wells then struck out swinging.
Closer Addison Reed pitched the eighth inning in a non-save opportunity. He allowed a one-out single to Crisp, then Lowrie singled to center, but Jordan Danks --- called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday --- bobbled the ball and Crisp, on a hit-and-run, scored on the error, making it 2-0. The run was earned, Reed's first allowed since May 8.
The ninth inning exemplified Chicago's struggles. De Aza led off with a single, and then Alexei Ramirez hit one hard to right field but straight to Josh Reddick, resulting in Ramirez understandably stopping halfway to first in frustration. Conor Gillaspie, batting third for the first time this season, struck out looking, saying one indecipherable word. After De Aza advanced to second on indifference by A's closer Grant Balfour, Dayan Viciedo, batting cleanup for the second time this year, grounded out to shortstop.
"I'm not exactly sure what it is," Gillaspie said. "[Parker] threw the ball good. Maybe it's us. I don't know. It seemed like everybody we've faced, all his pitches were strikes. You tip your cap. I don't know what else to say. … Maybe I'm the one living in a dream world. I just don't think we're playing very good right now. It's pretty obvious. We've got a lot of talent. There are a lot of good hitters. … It'll come around, and if doesn't, I'm sure there'll be changes. I don't know what else to say."