But Chicago's offense took the night off in arguably his best outing of the year, reaching base just five times off A's starter Bartolo Colon and failing to advance past first base in a five-hit shutout.
Chicago fell 3-0 to Oakland for its fifth straight road loss and fourth overall to match its longest losing streak of the season, despite Axelrod striking out seven in seven-plus innings of four-hit ball in which he allowed no walks.
"It was fun," Axelrod said of his duel with Colon. "Both of us didn't have much rest on the bench. I can't ask for anything more. It's just one of those things."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura wasn't as kind to the offense, which prior to the game was batting .294 with 47 runs scored in its last 10 road contests.
"We have to be better offensively," Ventura said. "Right now we stink."
Three of Chicago's hits against Colon, a former White Sox hurler, came with two outs, with the other two runners eventually double-upped in subsequent at-bats.
The 40-year-old kept the White Sox off balance all night, predominantly throwing fastballs while mixing in sinkers that Ventura described as a "medicine ball" and designated hitter Adam Dunn called "one of the best in the game."
"When it moves like that, it's tough," said Dunn, who collected one of the two infield hits. "It's tough to get in the air. He did what he's done his whole career."
Axelrod was equally impressive despite getting the loss. He made it through seven innings unscathed before back-to-back doubles in the eighth by John Jaso and Josh Reddick, who pounced on Axelrod's backdoor cutter to break the tie.
"I threw it where I wanted to, so I tip my cap to him," Axelrod said. "I was surprised he hit that ball to the opposite field, so I tip my hat to him on that one."
"For a guy that was throwing mostly offspeed, that's pretty much what I was waiting for," said Reddick, who delivered in his first start since returning from the 15-day disabled list. "I had a feeling that if he didn't leave something up that he was going to put me on and deal with the guy behind me for a double play. Fortunately for us, he put something up."
Axelrod was later charged with a second run when Coco Crisp singled in two against reliever Jesse Crain later in the inning before Colon shut the door in the ninth for his first nine-inning complete game since 2011.
Axelrod and the defense was on point. Colon was just better.
"You put so much stress on the pitching anyway because of the way we've been hitting that the one time we don't pitch it's magnified," Ventura said before the game.