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White Sox lose two straight, first series in eight tries

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and
umpire Hunter Wendelstedt insist there's no personal grudge between
them.

Yet after all the crazy plays, unlikely stars and general
strangeness of the Oakland Athletics' 2-1 victory over Chicago on
Wednesday, Guillen's latest confrontation with Wendelstedt still
was the talk of both locker rooms.

Wendelstedt ejected Guillen for arguing in the ninth inning
after ruling that Chicago's Joe Crede made no effort to avoid
getting hit by Justin Duchscherer's pitch with two runners on and
two outs in a 1-1 game. After Crede popped up on the next pitch, he
also was tossed by Wendelstedt.

The umpire and the manager have a history: Guillen was hit with
consecutive two-game suspensions last August following a
confrontation with Wendelstedt -- the first for arguing a call in a
game against Cleveland, and the second for calling Wendelstedt a
liar because of remarks in the umpire's report on the incident.

Their disagreement in Oakland didn't decide the game, won by
Marco Scutaro's RBI single in the ninth. But the White Sox still
were scratching their heads over Wendelstedt's judgment call, while
the A's were thrilled to see an umpire make such a ruling.

"It can go either way," Guillen said. "There's no place to
win. It was the same (umpire) last year ... and (this time) he said
(Crede) stuck his arm into the ball. Maybe I just need to stay here
a long time to earn respect. He said he thought he leaned in. But I
have respect for them."

Guillen has been ejected three times in his managing career --
two by Wendelstedt.

In the umpires' locker room, Wendelstedt cited the rulebook case
study for his call, and crew chief Bruce Froemming supported him.

"There's no carryover whatsoever (from last season),"
Froemming said. "I respect Ozzie Guillen and his players, but if
they get out of line, just like anyone else, that's what we're here
for.

"Hunter made a great call. Crede leaned into the ball and tried
to get hit by the ball. He leaned his shoulder into it. It's a
judgment call for Hunter, and he made a great call."

The A's wrapped up the victory moments after the ejections when
Erubiel Durazo, who had three hits, scored on Scutaro's shot down
the left field line off Dustin Hermanson. Durazo, who also homered
for the A's, led off the ninth with a lazy fly off Damaso Marte
(2-2) -- but Aaron Rowand lost it in the sun.

"It was just a very, very weird last two games," said A's
catcher Jason Kendall, who went 1-for-4. "Just strange. I thought
it was a good call, but I get hit all the time, so who am I to say
anything about it?"

The White Sox still have the AL's best record at 16-6, but they
lost a series for the first time in eight tries this season, with
late-inning fielding blunders leading to both losses in Oakland.

Guillen used a strange lineup in the series finale, putting
Crede at shortstop for "the third time since Little League,"
according to Crede, and playing backup catcher Chris Widger at
third base. When Crede was ejected, lanky outfielder Jermaine Dye
was forced to play shortstop for the first time since high school.

Chicago extended its winning streak in the series opener Monday
night, but Oakland snapped it with two late-inning rallies in a
wild 9-7 victory Tuesday aided by Dye's error on a flyball. The
White Sox still could match the franchise record of 17 wins in
April when they return home Friday against Detroit.

Paul Konerko had an RBI double in the first inning for the White
Sox. Freddy Garcia allowed four hits in seven strong innings, but
his teammates managed just one early run against Kirk Saarloos and
Oakland's solid bullpen.

Duchscherer (2-0) got the win while lowering his ERA to 0.66.
Marte was the losing pitcher in both games against the A's.

"I felt like he made an attempt to get hit by it, but you never
see that call," Duchscherer said of his pitch to Crede. "I was
fortunate to get that call, because you don't know what could have
happened after that."

Saarloos, the A's fifth starter, issued five walks and never
retired three straight batters during his 5 1-3 innings of work.
But the Oakland defense converted four double plays in the first
six innings to keep him out of trouble.

Game notes
Garcia has gone at least six innings in all five of his
starts this season. ... Oakland LF Charles Thomas, acquired from
Atlanta in the offseason, got his first hit with the A's, singling
in the fifth. He began the season 0-for-24. ... Rain began to fall
at the Coliseum in the fourth inning, sending much of the tiny
crowd scurrying for shelter.