CHICAGO (AP) - After retiring the first two batters in the ninth inning and having Josh Willingham in an 0-2 count, it appeared Chicago White Sox closer Sergio Santos was going to send the Oakland Athletics to their 11th straight defeat.
All off a sudden, Santos lost control of his slider and the Athletics finally took advantage.
Scott Sizemore hit a go-ahead three-run double in the ninth inning to rally Oakland past the Chicago White Sox 7-5 on Friday night, ending a 10-game losing streak.
Pitching with a 5-3 lead, Santos (2-3) set himself up with the two outs and two strikes before walking Willingham. Hideki Matsui followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit 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.
``My slider, I just didn't have a feel for it. It did, but I just couldn't repeat it consistently. That ended up kind of messing me up because that is usually my put away pitch. I couldn't do it to Willingham, I tried it three times and nothing,' Santos said. ``There is no excuse. I flat out didn't get the job done. I don't know what to say.'
In a non-save situation, Santos allowed three runs in Wednesday's loss to Seattle. On Friday, Santos was charged with his second blown save of the season.
``To me, he was too aggressive. In that particular time you take a deep breath and take one pitch at a time. He tried to getting the ball and letting it fly,' White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen 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.
``It was a great feeling to help the team get a win. Just felt really good to contribute,' Sizemore said. ``It just goes to show everyone is here to grind it out every out and put pressure on the other team. Everyone helped out.'
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.
``This one hurt, I will be honest with you. I'm not going to lie,' Guillen said. ``My question is, how do we bounce back tomorrow?'
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.
The A's won their first game under Bob Melvin. Oakland made the majors' first managerial change of 2011 by firing Bob Geren after four-plus seasons Thursday and replacing him with Melvin.
``You could feel all game long that we were fighting and if we were going down, we were going down fighting,' Melvin said. ``We were constantly adding pressure the whole game. We weren't coming up with it quite enough early on in the game but the attitude was there, the momentum was there and until you make that last out and that last strike, you're still alive. During streaks like that, you go down easy at the end and that just wasn't the case. That's always a sign that you're going to come out of it. I'm really glad they fought through and did it tonight. I'd have had a good feeling tomorrow even if we didn't come through, but to fight back is a great feeling.'
Cliff Pennington and Sizemore led the A's with three hits.
White Sox starter Edwin Jackson pitched six innings and allowed two runs and eight hits.
Graham Godfrey made his major league debut with Brett Anderson sidelined by elbow soreness. Godfrey allowed five runs and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings.
Godfrey was 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA for Triple-A Sacramento. The 26-year-old right-hander started one game for Double-A Midland before being promoted to Sacramento.
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, a franchise record.
The White Sox left the bases loaded after Godfrey struck out Gordon Beckham.
Konerko is 20 for 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 it at 2.
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 Scott Sizemore who 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 with 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, he 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. ... Quentin extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
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