OAKLAND, Calif. -- The White Sox tempted fate too often on Saturday afternoon.
Josh Reddick made sure the Oakland Athletics’ fourth plate appearances with the bases-loaded counted as he drew a base on balls in the 10th inning to force in the winning run against Hector Santiago.
Reddick’s walkoff walk ended a frustrating day for the A’s, who downed the White Sox 4-3 in front of 26,646 at the Oakland Coliseum even though they stranded 18 base runners. The loss was fifth straight for the White Sox, who also had to remove slugger Paul Konerko from the game with a neck injury. Konerko is listed as day-to-day but White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn’t expect him to play Sunday.
“Walking people isn’t a good situation especially right there in that part of the game,” Santiago said.
The A’s had stranded 15 runners on base through nine innings.
But Oakland didn’t waste another chance after Chris Young had a one-out double to start the 10th-inning rally off Santiago (1-4). Santiago intentionally walked Yoenis Cespedes and followed with a walk of Josh Donaldson to load the bases. Jeff Keppinger’s diving grab kept the White Sox alive, but not for long.
Santiago got a first-pitch strike against Reddick but then issued four straight balls for the game-winner. The White Sox had earlier rallied back from a 3-1 deficit and forced the game to extra innings.
“There’s a silver lining to it,” Ventura said. “But you’re here to win games.”
The White Sox showed signs of life Saturday but couldn’t pull ahead.
After he and Konerko struck out with runners on second and third to end the first inning, Adam Dunn came through with a two-out RBI single in the third to get the White Sox on the board.
A’s starter Dan Straily then settled down to retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced. But Keppinger and Hector Gimenez singled and doubled and Alejandro De Aza followed with a two-run single in the seventh off reliever Sean Doolittle to tie the game.
“We’re grinding out at-bats and do stuff offensively, fight your way back,” Ventura said. “I think there was progress.”
The A’s bullpen and the loss of Konerko stunted the White Sox growth, however.
Konerko struck out twice before Casper Wells replaced him in the sixth inning.
Konerko said he’s not sure when he’ll return but doesn’t expect to be sideline for a significant period of time.
“Not worried that it’s a major thing, I was just bunched up,” Konerko said. “It was more difficult to keep it on track as far as taking a swing. At that point I said let’s get it out of here and get it on track.”
Aside from Doolittle, Oakland’s relievers retired eight of the last nine Sox hitters they faced.
White Sox pitchers had few stretches as clean as that of the A’s bullpen.
Starter Jose Quintana was anything but sharp over 5 1/3 innings. Even so, he only allowed three runs despite putting 13 men on base.
The A’s scored a run in the first off Quintana on Cespedes’ RBI double and added another in the second on Young’s two-out RBI single. But it wasn’t until the fifth inning when Nate Freiman tripled in a run that the A’s scored again.
Jesse Crain increased his streak of appearances without yielding a run to a career-high 22 but not without a fight.
Young doubled with two outs to put runners on second and third for Cespedes. Crain fell behind Cespedes in the count but struck him out with a 94-mph fastball.
An inning later, Santiago worked his way out of two bases-loaded jams to send the game to extra innings. Santiago got a 6-2-5 double play off the bat of Derek Norris and after he reloaded the bases with an intentional walk of Coco Crisp, he struck out Eric Sogard to preserve the 3-all tie.
“It’s tough,” Santiago said. “(Our offense) making a comeback there and we’re trying to do everything we can to keep up in the game to see if they can scratch another one across.”