Nix, Thome HRs power White Sox as Floyd shuts down A's

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Now that they've proven they can win in Oakland, the Chicago White Sox are hoping to make believers out of the rest of the American League.

Jayson Nix and Jim Thome each homered, Gavin Floyd pitched seven strong innings and the White Sox beat the Athletics 8-1 on Saturday for their third straight road win after managing just five all of July.

"Every time we come here something happens, we're not playing well. Hopefully this thing will turn around and we start to play better," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "The way we started this road trip, it could have been pretty ugly."

Chicago dropped two of three to Seattle earlier in the week before heading south to Oakland, where the White Sox had lost 28 of 36 games since 2001. They won in 10 innings on Friday night and backed that up with a workmanlike victory less than 24 hours later.

In doing so, Chicago put to rest an eight-year skid at the Oakland Coliseum and, more importantly, kept pace with Detroit in the AL Central.

The White Sox are also on the cusp of just their fourth series sweep of the season and their first on the road since a three-game set in Cleveland from June 29-August 1.

"The bottom line is we want to stay healthy," said Thome, who hit his 563rd homer in the ninth to tie Reggie Jackson for 12th on the all-time list. "The organization has put this club in a situation to compete for a title. That's a special thing."

Jermaine Dye and A.J. Pierzynski had two hits apiece while Gordon Beckham added a two-run single in the sixth, when Chicago scored three runs to break the game open.

The A's couldn't get out of the hole left by Gio Gonzalez (4-3) and dropped their second straight to the White Sox after taking three of four at U.S. Cellular Field in June.

The young lefty, who hadn't lost since June 30, gave up six runs on six hits and issued a career-high six walks in five-plus innings. The victory guaranteed the White Sox a series win against Oakland, which had won its previous three series.

"Some pitches I was able to execute well, and others I couldn't," Gonzalez said. "It's not like I was missing the strike zone by a mile. I was missing by a hair.

"Six walks, you can't hide that."

Adam Kennedy tied his career high with five hits for Oakland, which lost for the third time in four games thanks to a gritty effort by Floyd.

Chicago's right-hander, who entered the game with a sub-.500 record and a 5.76 ERA on the road while going 5-2 with a 2.38 ERA at home, scattered eight hits and limited the damage with eight strikeouts against Oakland. Floyd (10-7) got the A's to hit into two double plays, gave up one run and walked two.

He got plenty of support from his teammates, including Thome's homer leading off the ninth.

"Every time this guy hits a home run it's history," Guillen said. "One thing about Jimmy is he's really humble. If it was me, I guarantee you everybody in the stadium would know I [tied] Reggie Jackson."

Nix homered off Gonzalez with one out in the third, a two-run shot that hit off the foul pole in left. Chicago scored two more off Gonzalez in the fourth, then chased the left-hander with three runs in the sixth.

A day after Jose Contreras let an early six-run lead slip away before the White Sox held on for an extra-innings win, Floyd slammed the door on nearly every Oakland uprising. He gave up a two-out RBI double to Mark Ellis in the fourth but stranded five runners in scoring position.

That allowed Guillen to save his bullpen after Chicago's relievers pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings Friday. Scott Linebrink and Randy Williams worked an inning apiece to finish it.

Kennedy had four singles and a double while going 5 for 5 for the second time this season. He joined former A's third baseman Sal Bando as the only players in franchise history to have two five-hit games in the same season. Bando did it in 1969.

Game notes
Guillen reiterated his stance that Contreras will remain in Chicago's starting rotation. ... The White Sox plan to have Freddy Garcia pitch against Kansas City on Tuesday. ... The A's didn't steal a base for the first time in 11 games, the longest streak by the team since 1988.