A's steal win in 9th, losing streak comes to an end

June 11, 2011, 3:20 am
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CHICAGO (AP) One strike from their 11th consecutive loss, the Oakland Athletics showed interim manager Bob Melvin the desire to win is still there.Scott Sizemore hit a go-ahead three-run double to rally the Oakland Athletics past the Chicago White Sox 7-5 Friday night."Until you make that last out and that last strike, you're still alive," Melvin said. "During streaks like that, you go down easy at the end and tonight that just wasn't the case. That's always a sign that you're going to come out of it."The A's won their first game under Melvin. Oakland made the majors' first managerial change of 2011 by firing Bob Geren after four-plus seasons Thursday and replacing him with Melvin."Did you see everybody up on the railing?" Melvin asked. "They did that on their own. I noticed at the beginning of the inning, everybody that who was at the back of the bench came up to the top rail because everybody had a good feeling about the way we were playing tonight. I know it came down to one pitch and we were one pitch away from losing, but everybody was encouraging their teammates."Trailing 5-3 in the ninth, White Sox closer Sergio Santos (2-3) retired the first two batters and had Josh Willingham in an 0-2 count before walking him. Hideki Matsui followed with an RBI single to cut the White Sox lead to a run. Santos then walked Daric Barton and hit Kurt Suzuki with a breaking ball to load the bases. Sizemore then split the left-center gap to give the Athletics a 7-5 lead."Santos throws hard, so if you're not ready for the fastball he'll blow you away," said Sizemore, who was playing in just his third game with the A's since being acquired from Detroit on May 27."It was a great feeling to help the team get a win," Sizemore added. "Just felt really good to contribute."Santos allowed three runs in Wednesday's loss to the Mariners."This one hurt, I will be honest with you," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "(Santos) just lost it. He tried to be too aggressive."Santos has allowed runs in just three of his 25 appearances this year, but has been tagged for three or more runs in all three instances."It's baseball, I wish I could get the job done every time but that's not possible so I have to be ready for tomorrow, whenever they call on me, whatever the situation is I will be ready to go out there and do my job," he said.Grant Balfour (4-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory and Andrew Bailey pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer and A.J. Pierzynski had three hits for the White Sox, who failed to gain ground in the AL Central despite Cleveland and Detroit both losing.The A's had had 13 hits in avoiding losing 11 straight for the first time since a 12-game slide April 19-30, 1994. Oakland came into the game batting .219 (75 for 343) during the 10-game losing streak.Cliff Pennington and Sizemore led the A's with three hits.White Sox starter Edwin Jackson pitched six innings and allowed two runs on eight hits.Graham Godfrey made his major league debut with Brett Anderson sidelined by elbow soreness. Godfrey allowed five runs on nine hits over 4 1-3 innings."I thought he battled pretty well," Melvin said. "Two-out walks will kill you. You saw him get out of sorts a little bit, then bring it back."Godfrey was 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA for Sacramento. The 26-year old right-hander started one game for Double-A Midland before being promoted to Sacramento."In the middle of my outing, I was attacking hitters and getting ahead. That's what made me more successful," Godfrey said. "I definitely got a lot of positives to work off of."Trailing 1-0 in the first inning, Carlos Quentin drew a two-out walk, then Konerko followed with his 16th home run and second in as many days to put Chicago ahead. It was Konerko's ninth straight game with an extra-base hit, setting a franchise record.The White Sox left the bases loaded after Godfrey struck out Gordon Beckham.Konerko is 20-42 with six doubles, six home runs and 14 RBIs during his 11-game hitting streak, raising his average from .287 to .321. He has hit six home runs in his last nine games.Jemile Weeks led off the third with a triple. Center fielder Alex Rios had a bad read on the ball and initially turned in the wrong direction as the ball went over his head. Weeks later scored on Pennington's infield single to tie the score at two.The White Sox got the lead back for Jackson in the fifth. Alexei Ramirez led off with a double, then Quentin followed a slow bouncer to third baseman Sizemore. Sizemore made an off-balanced throw to first which got away from Barton. Ramirez ended up scoring on the throwing error.Godfrey was chased after giving up a single to Pierzynski. Quentin hustled into third on the hit to right and Pierzynski took second on the throw. Quentin ended up scoring on Rios' groundout and Adam Dunn drove in Pierzynski on a single to give the White Sox a 5-2 lead.With one out in the first, Pennington doubled down the left-field line. One out later, Pennington scored on Willingham's single.Coco Crisp scored on pinch-hitter Conor Jackson's groundout in the seventh.NOTES: Konerko previously shared the consecutive extra-base hit streak with Al Simmons, who set it in 1935. ... Rios and Dunn drove in a run in the same game this season for the third time this season. ... Quentin extended his hitting streak to 12 games. ... Pennington has four hits in eight at-bats in the No. 2 hole since Melvin moved him there from hitting ninth, a move Melvin called "an easy decision."