OAKLAND, Calif. – After pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning, White Sox reliever Hector Santiago wasn’t too concerned about working out of the stretch when the same situation came up in the 10th.
Just like almost everything on Sox’s road trip, it didn’t pan out.
Santiago walked Oakland’s Josh Reddick on five pitches to force in the winning run and hand the Sox a 4-3 loss Saturday, extending their losing streak to five games.
“I just threw too many pitches,” said Santiago, who dropped to 1-4. “I went to the windup and then I fell behind and went back to the stretch and got back into that groove. But you still want to make your pitches even when you are behind. I just didn’t do that. I messed up.”
The loss continued a frustrating road trip for the Sox.
Since leaving U.S. Cellular Field after a 5-2 homestand, the Sox have failed to score more than three runs in four straight games.
Manager Robin Ventura’s club had 10 hits against Oakland and scored twice in the seventh to erase a 3-1 deficit but still left with another disappointing defeat.
“The hitting was good, but grinding out the at-bats and fighting your way back, there was progress,” Ventura said. “It was a high-wire act for Hector ... but as far as fighting back, you like what you see out of the offense.”
Alejandro De Aza had two hits and two RBIs for the Sox, who fell to 11-17 on the road. Jeff Keppinger also had two hits and scored.
The offense wasn’t the problem.
Like Santiago, starter Jose Quintana struggled with his control, which allowed the Athletics to take a 3-1 lead.
Quintana allowed 10 hits, walked three and struck out four in 51/3 innings.
“It was similar to what Hector was doing,” Ventura said. “They kind of mirrored each other with their outings. [Quintana] was in and out. He never evened out.”
Before the meltdown in the 10th, the Sox’s pitchers had done a pretty good job of limiting the damage.
The A’s had 16 hits, stranded 18 runners and failed to score after loading the bases with no outs in the ninth before scoring the game-winner off Santiago.
Jed Lowrie matched his career high of four hits for the A’s, who have won seven straight at home and 13 of 15 overall.
Jerry Blevins (4-0) retired one batter to get the win after Oakland manager Bob Melvin emptied his bullpen following a stellar effort by starter Dan Straily.
Cespedes doubled in Lowrie in the first, then Young snapped an 0-for-19 streak with an RBI single in the second to put the A’s up 2-0.
After De Aza doubled and scored on Adam Dunn’s single in the third, Oakland made it 3-1 when Donaldson hit a one-out single and scored on Nate Freiman’s triple in the fifth. It came after Quintana was called for a balk when he stumbled off the mound and dropped the ball during his windup.
The White Sox, shut out a day earlier by 40-year-old Bartolo Colon, couldn’t get much going against Straily but broke through against the A’s bullpen in the seventh.
Keppinger singled off reliever Sean Doolittle and took third on Hector Gimenez’s double. De Aza followed with a sharp two-run single to drive in both runs and tie the game at 3-all.
Chicago’s defense provided a big spark in the ninth after Oakland loaded the bases. Santiago got Derek Norris to ground into a 6-2-3 double play, then later fanned Eric Sogard to end the jam.
It was a rough day all around for the slumping White Sox.
Designated hitter Paul Konerko struck out twice before leaving the game with a stiff neck. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez also appeared to injure his lower back after bumping into left fielder Dayan Viciedo chasing down a popup by Cespedes also in the sixth but stayed in the game.
“It’s the lower right part of my neck,” Konerko said. “It wasn’t great when I got here but I got it loose. I felt better but then it kind of seized back up on me.”
NOTES: Quintana, who tied for second in the AL with 15 no-decisions in 2012, already has six this season. ... Reliever Jesse Crain extended his career-high scoreless streak to 20 1-3 innings. ... Chicago LHP Chris Sale (5-2) takes a 23-inning scoreless streak into Sunday’s series finale. ... Oakland RHP Jarrod Parker (3-6) will make just his second career start against the White Sox.