" Turning point: Todd Walker shifted the momentum after tying the game on an RBI single.
" Hero: Mark Ellis sent a deep fly ball off the wall in left, knocking in the game-winning run.
" Figure this: The A's have scored two or fewer runs in each of their last five games, the longest such streak for the club since Aug. 20-24, 1980.
" Quotable: "That's the story of our
team. We couldn't catch any breaks and tonight we got some." -- Chad Gaudin
-- ESPN.com news services
Athletics 2, White Sox 1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Mark Ellis had been having a rough night.
He grounded out with a runner on third who wound up stranded, and
then Ellis committed a three-base fielding error.
All of that can be forgotten.
Ellis singled off the left-field scoreboard with the bases
loaded in the ninth after pinch-hitter Todd Walker tied the game on
a base hit, lifting the Oakland Athletics past the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Tuesday night.
"My night wasn't going very well to say the least," Ellis
said. "Whenever you let the team down, it's nice to get another
opportunity. ... Hopefully this will turn our offense around. We've
been facing good pitching but it's only so long you can say that."
Huston Street (1-0) pitched one perfect inning for the win on a
night when Jon Garland allowed three hits in seven shutout innings
and Juan Uribe gave the White Sox the lead on a fifth-inning
single. A's fill-in starter Chad Gaudin also had a strong day, and
Oakland bounced back following a 4-1 defeat with ace Rich Harden on
the mound Monday night.
"Awesome," Gaudin said of the rally. "That's the story of our
team. We couldn't catch any breaks and tonight we got some."
Still, the A's have scored two or fewer runs in each of their
last five games, the longest such streak for the club since Aug.
Gaudin might have earned himself another chance with 5 2-3
innings in which he matched his career high of six strikeouts. He
allowed only three hits and one run while walking three.
The right-hander didn't have a baserunner until Scott
Podsednik's leadoff single in the fourth. He got through three
innings on 38 pitches and had a strikeout every inning.
After A.J. Pierzynski grounded out starting the fifth, Gaudin
gave up a walk to Alex Cintron before back-to-back singles from Rob
Mackowiak and Uribe. Gaudin then struck out Podsednik swinging and
got Darin Erstad to ground out.
Gaudin was moved into the rotation in place of the injured
Esteban Loaiza, who began the season on the disabled list with an
injury in his neck and upper back. Podsednik singled to left-center
over the outstretched glove of leaping shortstop Bobby Crosby for
the first runner off Gaudin.
Either Gaudin or left-hander Joe Kennedy, who will start against
Mark Buehrle in Wednesday afternoon's series finale, will have
their turn skipped next week as the A's adjust their rotation
around a pair of off days.
For as much as Oakland stressed situational hitting all spring,
the defending AL West champions have struggled in key situations so
far -- aside from Ellis' clutch effort. The A's were batting .189
(14-for-74) with runners in scoring position coming into Tuesday
night and missed more chances. Oakland had runners on first and
second with one out in the first but couldn't capitalize.
After Buck's triple led off the fifth, the A's left him, too.
Garland retired the final nine batters he faced after that hit,
giving way to Mike MacDougal to start the eighth.
A's manager Bob Geren was talking to bench coach Bob Schaefer
and hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo about how the players might
actually be trying to do too much.
"They really want to get the job done, almost to the point of
pressing," Geren said. "You can't argue the effort, but maybe
they're trying too hard. A couple of big hits like that late can
get some momentum going."
Milton Bradley singled off Jenks to start the ninth and extended
his hitting streak against Chicago to 23 games, while Mike Piazza
followed with a single. Piazza is 12-for-24 with three doubles, a
home run and four multihit games over his last six contests after
starting his new gig as a full-time designated hitter 1-for-12.
"You never want to go out there and give up the leadoff hit,"
Jenks said. "That's number one, make sure you get that guy. The
only pitch I'm upset about is the one to Walker, that curveball. We
could have been out of the game with a win if I just put that in
Ellis his error in the seventh on a tough shallow fly in right
by Cintron, snapping a 39-inning errorless streak for the second
Podsednik stole his second base in as many nights, showing
all signs that he's completely healthy following surgery for a
sports hernia Jan. 23. ... Oakland's Nick Swisher drew his 10th
walk of the year and has reached base in every game... White Sox 2B
Tadahito Iguchi is nursing a bruised finger but was available. ...
Chicago RF Jermaine Dye got his first day off of the season after
playing the initial six contests, and Erstad will rest Wednesday
and Brian Anderson will play CF.