Parker, A's blank White Sox to take three-game sweep
Oakland continues surge behind right-hander's 6 1/3 scoreless innings
OAKLAND -- For the third straight game, the A's outlasted the White Sox.
The A's saw Jarrod Parker outduel White Sox ace Chris Sale in Sunday's series finale, taking a 2-0 win to sweep Chicago and win their 14th game out of their last 16.
After relying on back-to-back doubles in the eighth inning of Friday's win and outlasting Chicago, 4-3, in 10 innings Saturday, the A's once again waited until the third act of the game to take the lead on Sunday at the Coliseum.
Coco Crisp tagged up on a sacrifice fly to right field by Josh Donaldson to break a scoreless tie off Sale in the sixth, snapping the left-hander's scoreless innings streak at 28.
"You knew it was going to be a tough game for us with that kind of opponent with that type of streak that he was on. He's obviously locked in," A's closer Grant Balfour said. "Parker's been on a little roll now, and hopefully he can see the same thing himself."
Parker shined as he bested Sale, allowing two hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out seven and walking two.
He improved to 4-2 with a 3.28 ERA over his last six starters after going 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA to start the season, while Balfour came on in the ninth to notch his 13th save to stay perfect on the season.
"It feels like he's the Jarrod we're used to seeing," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When he gets hit around a little bit it's surprising, even through that tough stretch for him. Sometimes that makes you a little bit tougher and a little bit better as you go along. … When you struggle some, you learn a little bit more about yourself and you find that tenacity that you need to be successful."
Oakland's pitchers establish the strike zone all series, getting ahead of the count early with fastballs and keeping the ball low in order to limit hard contact and force grounders and lazy fly balls.
A's starters combined for a 0.42 ERA over 21 1/3 innings in three games against the White Sox (24-30), whose loss Sunday was a season-worst sixth in a row.
"We didn't try to trick them at all," said catcher Derek Norris, whose left index finger was struck on an Alexei Ramirez's backswing in the sixth but said he was fine after the game. "We know that these guys have been scuffling as of late, and we wanted to come out and bury them."
The A's lack of offense kept the White Sox in the game once again Sunday despite Parker's performance. While the White Sox only placed two runners in scoring position after failing to advance a runner past first base all game against Bartolo Colon on Friday, the A's weren't much better. They finished the day with six hits to cap off an offensively inefficient series that totaled just 11 runs in three games and didn't place a runner in scoring position until the sixth, when they finally pushed across that first run.
Crisp walked to start the inning and advanced to third on a single to right-center field by Jed Lowrie, scoring on a drive by Donaldson to right field on a 2-2 95-mph fastball by Sale that carried to the middle of the outfield.
"Once I got to two strikes, I was just trying to do my job to make sure to get the run in from third," Donaldson said. "I know Coco's really fast and it's not going to take much. I was able to hit it just far enough to let him score."
"They never give up, that's for sure," said Sale, who had his streak of four straight wins snapped along with his run of scoreless innings. "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 out-pitched by Parker."
The closest the White Sox came to scoring came off a double from Adam Dunn that nearly cleared the 400-foot fence in center field, but Dunn had to settle for a double. Chicago was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position on the day.
Crisp came around to score against Addison Reed in the bottom of the eighth on Lorwie's single and a fielding error by White Sox center fielder Jordan Danks.
The A's (34-24) head to Milwaukee a season-best 10 games over .500.
"Sum it up to Oakland A's baseball," Norris said. "What we do well is have a good starting rotation, scratch a couple runs across and close the door with our bullpen. That's what we strive to be, and we're doing a great job of it."