Sox offense sputters in loss

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Sox offense sputters in loss

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Tommy Milone's changeup felt the best it has yet. His cut fastball in kept Chicago's hitters off balance all night.He just wishes he could have finished what he started with a complete game - yet there's plenty of time for that."It's still early, definitely," Milone said.Pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki doubled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Milone outdueled Gavin Floyd and the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 2-0 on Tuesday night."Probably the best my arm has felt so far this year," Milone said. "Just being able to make pitches and starting hitters off with a strike and then working from there and keeping the off-speed pitches low."Daric Barton drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and Luke Hughes struck out before Matt Thornton relieved Floyd (1-3). Suzuki doubled to left and Barton scored easily, then Eric Sogard added an RBI single as the A's ended a 16-inning scoreless stretch going back to Sunday's 5-1 victory against Cleveland."I don't know how many innings it was we didn't score. It felt like 100," A's manager Bob Melvin said.Chicago's stellar pitching produced yet another strong outing on a road trip full of them, but the White Sox had their four-game winning streak snapped along with a six-game road winning streak.A night after Jake Peavy pitched a three-hitter in a 4-0 White Sox win Monday - Oakland's fourth time being blanked - Floyd did his part. On Saturday in Seattle, Phil Humber pitched a perfect game in a 4-0 win over the Mariners.Milone (3-1) matched Floyd all night until Oakland's offense finally capitalized. The A's did plenty on defense to back Floyd, turning double plays and throwing out Chicago's Brent Morel on a steal attempt in the eighth after he hit a two-out single."Against that lineup, pretty spectacular," Melvin said of Milone.Milone, acquired in the winter trade that sent All-Star Gio Gonzalez to Washington, allowed three hits over eight efficient innings, struck out five and didn't walk a batter in a 98-pitch outing. Grant Balfour finished the four-hit shutout, Oakland's fourth, for his fifth save in as many tries in a game that went 2 hours, 27 minutes."It's obviously something I want to do. I want to finish the game," Milone said. "There's not any rush to get me out there and pitch over the pitch count."Floyd, who came in with a 3-1 record and 2.35 ERA with 35 strikeouts in his previous seven career starts against the A's, allowed two hits and one run, struck out six and walked two in 7 1-3 innings."He pitched great. It's tough to pitch like that and get a loss. This one stings because your guy pitches such a good game and we couldn't do much on the offensive side," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Their guy pitched a little better. He kept us off balance and we couldn't get anything going off him."The White Sox were trying for their longest road winning streak since a seven-gamer from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6, 2010. Still, Chicago's 7-2 start away from home was the club's best since winning 10 of its first 12 on the road in 2005.Chicago's Alex Rios went 0 for 3 and had his 11-game hitting streak snapped, with Adam Dunn pinch-hitting for him in the ninth. Dunn struck out swinging to end it."I thought I was going to hit but if he thinks Adam is better there, let's go for it. We're trying to win ball games," Rios said.A's left fielder Coco Crisp was held out of the lineup after he still experienced symptoms of his recent illness after playing all nine innings Monday following five games out because of a bug and inner ear issue. Melvin said Crisp will rest through Thursday's off day and perhaps be ready Friday at Baltimore.Notes:
Humber, who pitched the 21st perfect game in major league history Saturday at Seattle, flew home Tuesday morning to be with his wife before the birth of their first child. Humber - claimed off waivers from the A's on Jan. 18, 2011, is set to pitch Thursday at home vs. Boston. ... Jarrod Parker, who grew up in Indiana as a Chicago fan, makes his A's debut in Wednesday afternoon's series finale. "I grew up a White Sox fan, so it's going to be cool," he said. ... Oakland SS Cliff Pennington and C Suzuki each had the night off, before Suzuki entered to pinch hit in the eighth and stayed in behind the plate. ... A's owner Lew Wolff watched batting practice from the field and confirmed Barry Bonds' trial lawyer, Allen Ruby, is now on the legal team for the club's efforts to build a new ballpark in San Jose.Box Score

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Having experienced a playoff-like atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic, David Robertson and Nate Jones already feel prepared for the regular season. 

The two relievers returned to White Sox camp on Friday morning bearing gold medals from a Team USA WBC title run that concluded on Wednesday night with an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Robertson, who recorded the final three outs of the clinching victory, said he's glad to be back and won't need much of a tune-up to be ready for the April 3 season opener.

"Back up to speed?" Robertson said. "More like slow down and get ready for the season. I'll probably play catch (Friday). I didn't throw (Thursday), I spent the day traveling. Probably play catch today, and be ready to throw (Saturday). If I needed to throw today, I could. I feel like I'm season ready right now."

"It feels good to be back. It's been a long trip doing this WBC, so it's good to be back and relax a little bit. Have a couple days before we start the season."

Both Jones and Robertson appeared four times each for Team USA with similar results. Each allowed a solo home run but nothing else. Jones said he brought his gold medal back to camp because he isn't yet ready to put it in his safety deposit box. His favorite moments of the tournament were brought on by raucous crowds.

"Once you get a crowd chanting USA that was a pretty cool moment," Jones said. "You're proud of representing your country, and once they did that, it all kind of set in, like, ‘Wow, this is happening.'

"It's just pure excitement, everybody going crazy."

Jones and Robertson said they're pleased to have returned to the relative tranquility of White Sox camp after they lived out of a suitcase for the previous 18 days. Both were set to meet with pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Rick Renteria to discuss their upcoming schedule. Jones said he expected to throw a side session on Friday in front of Cooper to have his mechanics reviewed. Robertson last pitched on Wednesday and didn't know when he'd throw again.

"They've been busy, obviously, with Robbie finishing up the last game," Renteria said. "We'll see how the schedule lines up in terms of their usage for the remaining 9-10 days."

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Robertson is pretty sure he won't need much work. Whereas the team's closer normally waits until the first week of March to appear in a game, Robertson has pitched in plenty this spring. Each of the last four has had a ton more intensity than any normal Cactus League work.

"It felt like playoff baseball really early in the year," Robertson said. "Just coming from Miami, trying to win a couple days in there was really hard. Fans were really loud. That place was a very intense environment, and it didn't feel like you were the home team at all.

"It felt like (a home game) when we were in San Diego We were the home team there, and when we got to L.A., same thing. Although, I will say that when we were playing the Japanese, it erupted a couple times when they had some big moments in their game. It was just a lot of fun to play in this whole event. It was definitely more than I expected."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

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Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."