OAKLAND – All that was missing for Jesse Chavez on Monday night was the storybook ending.
You couldn’t find much fault elsewhere as the A’s right-hander was outstanding against the Chicago White Sox, coming within three outs of his first career complete game in a 5-4 victory at the Coliseum.
Chavez received a warm ovation from the home crowd as he took the mound for the ninth, his pitch count at 90. He got ahead of Sox cleanup man Jose Abreu 0-2 before the slugger hammered an opposite-field homer into the right-field seats. Manager Bob Melvin immediately came out with the hook, bringing in Fernando Abad to relieve Chavez.
Melvin would need to make two more pitching changes before his team nailed down its fifth straight victory. Most importantly, Chavez (3-1) was creditd with a well-deserved victory. He went a career-high eight-plus innings, limiting the White Sox to five hits and two runs. He struck out seven and walked two.
Starting pitching report
Who saw this coming for Chavez? He entered spring training just looking to nail down a bullpen spot, but he found himself in the rotation after season-ending elbow injuries to Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin.
He was in control all night Monday except for two pitches. Chavez allowed Dayan Viciedo’s solo homer in the second that briefly put Chicago up 1-0. Chavez lowered his ERA to 2.44.
Melvin couldn’t have imagined he’d get so much exercise in the ninth. He made three trips to the mound to make pitching changes. After Abad walked his only batter, Jim Johnson entered and allowed a double and Alexei Ramirez’s run-scoring single. Then Doolitttle took the mound. After allowing a sacrifice fly, he struck out Tyler Flowers and Leury Garcia to end it.
At the plate
Chavez wasn’t the only A’s player making waves Monday night. Josh Reddick blasted a triple off the center field wall in the second to score Nick Punto and pull the A’s into a 1-1 tie. After that, Reddick walked to the plate to the soothing sounds of Wham’s “Careless Whisper” playing over the P.A. system. Whatever works … he reached base in his final two plate appearances while using that 80’s slow jam as his walk-up tune. He walked in the fifth and scored on Josh Donaldson’s go-ahead two-run homer.
Then with the White Sox playing an infield shift on him in the seventh, Reddick dropped a bunt single to the left side to jumpstart another rally. After Craig Gentry walked, Jed Lowrie doubled to the gap in left-center to score Redddick and Gentry to make it 5-1.
Donaldson’s two-run homer, a line drive off a 2-0 pitch from John Danks (3-3), was his first homer of May, and he entered the night with just two RBI in 10 games for the month.
In the field
Reddick made a nice play to haul in Leury Garcia’s deep fly to the warning track in the fifth. Other than that, Chavez didn’t require a ton of help.
Paid attendance was announced at just 10,120, and it appeared to be a smaller turnout than that.
Drew Pomeranz (2-1, 1.45) will make his second start, and first since officially joining the A’s rotation, in Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. contest. Scott Carroll (1-2, 3.63) goes for the White Sox.