Jesse Chavez made the longest start of his career Monday night, and the A’s bats remained alive to plate 5 runs of support for the emerging journeyman.
It turned out that Oakland would need all five of those runs, as they weathered the storm of a furious ninth-inning rally from the White Sox to hold on for a 5-4 victory.
The wiry righty pitched into the ninth-inning seeking his first career complete game with a 5-1 lead, however after getting ahead of rookie slugger Jose Abreu with an 0-2 count, he allowed an opposite field solo home run that would end his night.
“It was the best I felt this year. It was [a little frustrating to not complete the game], but at the end of the day, you’ve got to trust in our guys to get it done, and they did,” said Chavez.
The A’s would send four pitchers to the mound before Sean Doolittle eventually nailed down the save while stranding the tying run on second base with back-to-back strikeouts.
“It sounds cliche to say, but you have to go one pitch at a time. I think that was important for me tonight, not getting caught up in the moment,” said Doolittle.
The A’s started their scoring with an RBI-triple off the bat of Josh Reddick that fell just inches away from clearing the center field wall in the second inning. The right fielder would later score twice after tweaking his walkup music in eccentric style.
While walking to the plate in the fifth-inning, the soothing tunes of a saxophone solo from Wham!’s ‘Careless Whisper’ welcomed Reddick to the batter’s box in a reversal of his usual energy-fueling guitar riffs.
“He comes up with new music all the time. We’re down there either rolling our eyes, or trying to figure out what wrestler’s intro song it is, but when he busted that one out tonight, everybody in the bullpen was singing the song. It was awesome,” said Doolittle. “It seemed to work out well for him. Selfishly, I hope it turns into a thing, he gets hot, and it sticks around for a while.”
You don’t have to worry about Doolittle changing his intro music of Metallica’s ‘For whom the bell tolls’ any time soon, however.
“No. Definitely not,” said the flame-throwing lefty when asked if he would do something similar. “Every time I hear it, it gets me pretty riled up. So, that’s sticking around for a while, for sure.”
Josh Donaldson snapped out of his May slump in the fifth inning, knocking his first home run of the month, and team-leading eighth of the year.
Jed Lowrie recorded his 500th career hit in the seventh-inning, naturally being an RBI-double.
Oakland has won 7 of the 8 starts from Chavez, and the A’s boast 3 of the AL’s top-10 starting pitcher’s in ERA, with Sonny Gray (3rd, 2.17), Scott Kazmir (4th, 2.28), and Chavez (7th, 2.44).
The A’s have now won five in a row, and moved to 3.5 games atop the AL west. It is their largest division lead before the All-star break since June 19, 1992.
Next up for Oakland, Drew Pomeranz (2-1, 1.45) will look to stretch the A’s win streak to six games. He will be opposed on the mound by Chicago righty Scott Caroll (1-2, 3.63) with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PST Tuesday night.