OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -Dallas Braden glanced into the stands as he walked off the mound and made eye contact with his grandmother.
Peggy Lindsey gave him a look that told the pitcher he was on track for a long-awaited victory - but don't count it yet.
Braden won for the first time in 10 starts since his perfect game May 9, ending a five-game losing streak as the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 on Sunday.
``It was a Sunday, a while ago,' Braden said, noting it felt like ``eons.'
Kurt Suzuki drove in three runs two days after receiving a $16 million, four-year contract, and Daric Barton hit a two-run single in the second before Suzuki followed with one of his own. Suzuki added another RBI single in the fourth.
Afterward, Suzuki had a little fun with the pitcher he's caught from the minors to the majors.
``Finally win one, huh?' Suzuki said.
Paul Konerko gave Chicago an early lead on an RBI double with two outs in the first. After that, Braden (5-7) retired 13 of the next 14 White Sox hitters. This was the lefty's second start since coming off the disabled list July 20 following a bout with tightness in his throwing elbow.
Braden insists the funk didn't frustrate him. He is most thrilled to be back helping the team.
``Wins and losses is what everybody pays attention to. It is so glaring. That's the soup of the day,' Braden said. ``There's a lot of luck involved winning a big league baseball game.'
Braden left in the seventh to a rousing standing ovation, the A's well on their way to a fourth win in five games and ninth in 11. It was Lindsey who helped raise Braden, especially after his mother's death from skin cancer when he was a high school senior. She was among the first to greet him after his perfecto against Tampa Bay.
While Braden wasn't ready to celebrate Sunday's outing, the outspoken pitcher did seem relieved.
``I can finally quit answering calls from the Oakland Zoo looking for their monkey,' he said. ``He's off my back and I'll be sending him home.'
The nine consecutive starts without a victory after a no-hitter was the longest such streak in major league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Chicago's Mark Buehrle - who beat the A's here Friday night - went eight outings without a win last year after his perfect game on July 23, 2009.
Braden showed improved command of his pitches and seemed unfazed when he fell behind early. The offense quickly provided him everything he needed to finally get back in the win column.
Oakland captured its fourth straight series and third since the All-Star break, winning its seventh consecutive day game. The A's relied on small ball a day after hitting three home runs in a 10-2 win.
They added another run on reliever Erick Threets' wild throw past first trying to pick off a stealing Coco Crisp at first base. Crisp was credited with a stolen base, then easily scored on the two-base error.
Braden allowed two of his five hits in the seventh, giving way to Brad Ziegler. Braden struck out five and walked two in 6 1-3 innings. His sinker was better and his changeup was consistent.
``If I don't throw any nice changeups I'll be bagging groceries,' Braden said.
The White Sox got three straight RBI singles in the seventh, from Juan Pierre, Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios. But they couldn't do enough against Braden.
``He's a character, a goofy son of a gun. That's all I can say. I don't see anything special,' Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen joked. ``He throws strikes and changes speeds and he gives his team a good chance to win, but I don't see anything special. Congratulations on the perfect game but, if Mark Buehrle can throw a perfect game anybody can.'
Michael Wuertz finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save. A's closer Andrew Bailey, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, was unavailable for the second straight game because of back spasms.
Daniel Hudson (1-1) struggled in his third start since being called up from Triple-A Charlotte on July 11. After winning at Seattle on Monday and going a career-best 6 2-3 innings, he was done after throwing 108 pitches in five innings. Hudson allowed five runs, all earned, on six hits, struck out four and walked four.
NOTES: Oakland OF Rajai Davis missed his third straight game with a strained left hamstring. He tested the leg with some running before the game. ... With an off day Monday, manager Bob Geren hopes Bailey will be ready by Tuesday's game at Texas. ... Oakland LHP Brett Anderson (elbow inflammation) pitched 5 1-3 scoreless innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento at Tacoma. He allowed four hits, struck out nine and walked one. Anderson threw 87 pitches, 53 strikes. ... The ``Moneyball' movie - based on A's GM Billy Beane's innovative approach with Brad Pitt playing Beane - begins filming Monday at the Coliseum. It's being adapted from the 2003 best seller ``Moneyball' by Michael Lewis. Some shooting has already taken place in Los Angeles.
The Associated Press News Service
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