CHICAGO (AP) - Josh Donaldson insisted the Oakland Athletics are just fine, that they're in no way shaken. It's going to take more than two losses to rattle them.
``This team is not losing any confidence after losing two right here,' Donaldson said after Sunday's 4-2 loss to the White Sox. ``Chicago is a real good team and they've got real good pitching and they've got some bats in that lineup that can hurt you.'
Alex Rios and Tyler Flowers homered, Hector Santiago pitched into the seventh inning and the White Sox beat the Athletics again to salvage a split of their four-game series.
After racking up wins and storming to the AL West lead, Oakland now trails Texas by a half-game thanks to a second straight clunker. The Athletics again failed to get much going at the plate, managing just five hits after collecting four in a 4-1 loss on Saturday, and they'll have a day to mull it over after playing 17 straight days without a break. They open a three-game series against the New York Yankees at home on Tuesday.
``I feel good. I feel fresh,' Donaldson said. ``I feel like we're still playing hard. Every day we go out there and we're grinding. But a day off will help a little bit even more.'
Conor Gillaspie made several diving stops at third base for Chicago and drove in a run, and the White Sox looked like a team that just might be waking up.
They've won two in a row behind strong starts from Santiago (2-4) and John Danks after dropping 10 of 11 to fall into last place in the AL Central. Their bats are showing some life as well.
Flowers tied it 1-all in the third after Coco Crisp homered in the top half. The White Sox grabbed a 3-1 lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Gillaspie and an RBI double by Gordon Beckham. Rios chased A.J. Griffin (5-5) with a solo homer in the eighth to make it 4-2.
Santiago was simply superb after Danks and Addison Reed combined on a four-hitter Saturday, and the Athletics lost for just the fifth time in 23 games.
In and out of the rotation after opening the season in the bullpen, Santiago got the call with Jake Peavy sidelined by a broken rib and delivered in a big way. The left-hander allowed two runs - one earned - and four hits while striking out six and walking three.
``When stuff like this happens, you take advantage of it and just run with it,' Santiago said. ``We're all hoping for Peavy to come back as soon as possible, but for now, I'll enjoy the role.'
Santiago left to loud cheers with a two-run lead after walking Josh Reddick with one out in the seventh. Matt Lindstrom came on and gave up a bloop single to a pinch-hitter John Jaso before Adam Rosales grounded into a force. Matt Thornton then threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt, allowing Reddick to score and pull Oakland within one, before Crisp popped out.
Jesse Crain retired the side in the eighth, giving him 24 straight scoreless innings and 25 appearances in a row without allowing a run. Reed worked the ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances and his second in two days.
Griffin allowed seven hits and struck out five while walking one but got little support from his offense. The Athletics might have had a few more hits if not for Gillaspie.
He dove to his right to rob Donaldson in the third and lunged to his left to take one away from Jed Lowrie in the fifth. Gillaspie did it again in the eighth, diving to his left to rob Yoenis Cespedes.
``This is one series,' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ``We've been pretty good. You always want to be your best and play your best and the expectations of scoring a bunch of runs every day, the reality is sometimes that's not going to happen.'
NOTES: OF Chris Young was back in Oakland's lineup as the designated hitter after missing Saturday's game because of an illness. He went 0 for 2. ... Crisp has seven homers on the season and two in June after hitting none in May. ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura had some praise for the Chicago Blackhawks, who beat the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night to advance to the NHL's Stanley Cup finals for the first time since winning it all in 2010. ``You look at how you pick yourself up,' he said. ``Last night, late goal, a lot of different things can happen at that point. But they stayed with it. I think Coach Q (Joel Quenneville) has done a great job. I'm happy for him.'
The Associated Press News Service
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