A’s knock White Sox out of AL Central race
OAKLAND – Trevor Cahill pitched eight solid innings for his team-leading 17th win and the Oakland Athletics beat Chicago 7-2 on Tuesday night, sending the White Sox to their eighth consecutive loss and handing the AL Central title to the Minnesota Twins.
Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington drove in two runs apiece for the A’s, who pounded out 13 hits against Mark Buehrle and one reliever.
Omar Vizquel had two hits for the White Sox, who have lost 12 of 14 overall. Minnesota rallied to beat Cleveland 6-4 and became the first team to clinch a postseason spot when it secured the division with Chicago’s loss.
One day after Gio Gonzalez and three relievers combined on a four-hit shutout, Cahill (17-7) dominated the White Sox through eight innings by himself.
He retired 12 of the first 14 batters before Alexei Ramirez doubled leading off the fifth. Ramirez scored on Brent Morel’s groundout and Chicago added another run in the sixth but that was it.
The 22-year-old Cahill, who began the season in the minors after losing out to Gonzalez as Oakland’s fifth starter, became the first Oakland pitcher to win 17 games since Mark Mulder did it in 2004. The right-hander is also the first A’s pitcher to get to 17 wins without a win in April since Vida Blue in 1974.
Cahill benefited from an A’s offense that had its best night in more than a month. Oakland had four doubles and got some help from two Chicago errors.
Rajai Davis had three hits and scored twice for the A’s, who reached 76 wins for the first time since finishing 76-86 in 2007. Jack Cust and rookie Chris Carter had two hits apiece.
The White Sox fell 12 games back of Minnesota in the AL Central after they led the division by a half-game at the All-Star break.
Buehrle (12-12) got knocked around early and often, extending his winless slump to six games. The left-hander, who beat the A’s in Oakland with a four-hitter on July 23, was tagged for five runs and nine in the first four innings alone. He left after six innings with five strikeouts.
It marked the 16th consecutive game the White Sox have failed to get their starting pitcher a win, breaking the franchise record of 15 set in 1985. Chicago starters are 0-9 with a 7.12 ERA over the rough stretch.
The White Sox loaded the bases in the ninth against two relievers before Craig Breslow got pinch-hitter Paul Konerko to ground out, ending the game.
NOTES: Buehrle needs 1 2-3 innings to reach 200 for a 10th straight season, which would be the longest active streak in the majors. … Chicago RHP Gavin Floyd, who left Monday’s game after just seven pitches due to tightness in his right shoulder, is almost certain to miss his next start while resting. … Oakland RHP Ben Sheets, on the disabled list after undergoing three surgeries on his right elbow, was selected as the winner of the 2010 Jim ‘Catfish’ Hunter Award, given annually to an A’s player who exemplifies the courage and spirit of Hunter. … Carter singled in his first two at-bats against Buehrle, giving him three straight hits after starting his major league career with an 0-for-33 slide.