Athletics

A's winning streak comes to an end after splitting doubleheader

A's winning streak comes to an end after splitting doubleheader

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- Lucas Giolito pitched into the eighth inning before Xavier Cedeno worked out of a jam, and the Chicago White Sox snapped an eight-game losing streak by beating the Oakland Athletics 6-4 Friday night to salvage a doubleheader split.

The White Sox bounced back after getting pounded 11-2 behind a pair of three-run homers by Franklin Barreto. They stopped their worst skid since a nine-game rut last July and ended Oakland's season-high win streak at five.

Chicago was sailing along with a 5-2 lead when Giolito gave up back-to-back singles to Dustin Fowler and Marcus Semiento start the eighth. Jace Fry came in and walked pinch-hitter Stephen Piscotty to load the bases before Chris Volstad gave up a two-run single to Khris Davis, cutting it to 5-4.

Cedeno then got Matt Olson to line to the shortstop and struck out Mark Canha before Chad Pinder grounded into a force.

Tim Anderson led off the bottom half with his 12th homer to make it a two-run game. Omar Narvaez chipped in with three hits and two RBIs for Chicago.

Joakim Soria retired all three batters in the ninth for his 11th save in 13 opportunities.

Giolito (5-7) allowed four runs and seven hits in a rare home win. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out eight and walked two after going 1-4 with an 11.05 ERA in his first seven starts at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Olson went deep for Oakland, giving the Athletics home runs in 23 consecutive road games - one shy of the modern day record set by Baltimore in 1996. But Chris Bassitt (0-3) got tagged for five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Barreto's big performance in the opener came after he hit a three-run drive in Wednesday's romp at San Diego.

He connected against James Shields to cap a four-run second inning and off Luis Avilan in the eighth . Barreto's first career multihomer game gave him a personal-best six RBIs.

It was quite a display for a player who had just two home runs prior to this run. Both came against the White Sox in 2017, including a drive against Shields (2-9) at Guaranteed Rate Field in his first major league game.

Sean Manaea (7-6) went seven innings, allowing one run and five hits. The 26-year-old left-hander struck out seven without a walk in winning his second straight start.

Shields has dropped back-to-back outings after beating Cleveland for his first victory since opening day. The right-hander gave up eight runs - two earned - and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.

BREAKING IT OPEN

Barreto's drive to left in the second came after a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Jonathan Lucroy. Olson got that burst started with one out when his hard grounder scooted under second baseman Yoan Moncada's glove for an error.

The Athletics took advantage of two more errors and a wild pitch while chasing Shields in a four-run fifth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: The Athletics activated LF Matt Joyce (strained lower back) from the 10-day disabled list and optioned OF Jake Smolinski to Triple-A Nashville. Joyce started the second game after being held out of the opener. ... 3B Matt Chapman (bruised right thumb) received a cortisone injection Tuesday. Manager Bob Melvin said the earliest he will be activated is Monday, when the Athletics open a four-game series at Detroit. ... Melvin also expects LHP Ryan Buchter (strained left shoulder) to be activated during the Detroit series. ... LHP Brett Anderson (strained left shoulder) is scheduled to throw about four innings and 60 pitches in a rehab outing for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday.

White Sox: The White Sox activated RF Avisail Garcia (strained right hamstring) and LF Leury Garcia (sprained left knee). Both players started Game 1 but were not in the lineup for the nightcap.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden (6-6, 4.06 ERA) looks to break out of a slump after going 0-2 with a 10.05 ERA in his first three starts this month.

White Sox: RHP Dylan Covey (3-2, 2.90) will try to rebound from a loss at Cleveland on Monday.

A's could have more difficulty finding diamonds in the rough this offseason

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USATSI

A's could have more difficulty finding diamonds in the rough this offseason

The 2018 Winter Meetings were mostly uneventful, with just a handful of significant trades and free agent signings. But the players who did agree to contracts earned big money, signifying a hotter market than last year.

Outfielder Andrew McCutchen inked a three-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies despite a modest 20 home runs and 65 RBI last season. Relievers Jeurys Familia and Joe Kelly each got three-year contracts worth $30 million and $25 million, respectively.

The starting pitcher market, where the A's are most interested, appears to be especially strong. Patrick Corbin got a six-year contract worth a staggering $140 million from the Nationals. Nathan Eovaldi received four years and $67.5 million from the Red Sox, despite posting similar numbers to Trevor Cahill.

Even Tyson Ross earned $5.75 million from the Tigers following a season in which he recorded a 4.15 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, both significantly worse than Cahill and Edwin Jackson.

So what does all of that mean? Essentially, it suggests the A's will have to spend more money than they would like in order to be competitive in free agency.

Of course, in previous years, Billy Beane and David Forst have been successful finding diamonds in the rough for more affordable price tags. They say they will stick to their plan.

"We don't really get to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak," Forst said. "We kind of set our price. We know what we can do within the confines of our payroll and try to stay on that."

That might be a little more difficult this year, based on the early contract numbers in free agency. While the A's try not to let other teams' deals affect their negotiations, it's hard not to take notice.

"Any time a player comes off the market, whether it's a free agent or a trade, that's one fewer guy that you can put in place," Forst said. "So you kind of have to take that into account. We're not playing in a certain stratosphere with the starting pitcher market, so those don't really affect us, but you do have to keep it in mind. There are only so many guys out there." 

The A's typically prefer to wait until late in the offseason to find free agents who fit their price range. That tactic worked well last year with Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Jonathan Lucroy. 

"We have sort of targeted conversations, free agents, and trades, and kind of go at our own pace," Forst said. "I don't know that any external forces are going to change that."

Oakland will have to hope a few quality free agents slip through the cracks again.

A's Matt Chapman undergoes shoulder surgery, will swing again in six weeks

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A's Matt Chapman undergoes shoulder surgery, will swing again in six weeks

Matt Chapman had his second surgery of the offseason on Friday and underwent a successful procedure on his left shoulder, the A's announced. 

The Gold Glove-winning third baseman will begin physical therapy next week, and is expected to be able to swing a bat in six weeks, according to Dr. William Workman, who performed the surgery. Six weeks from the surgery is Jan. 25, 2019, or about two weeks before the start of spring training. 

Chapman recently felt discomfort in his shoulder during off-season workouts, according to the A's. In October, Chapman underwent surgery on his left thumb, and was expected to make a full recovery. 

Chapman emerged as one of the most important A's last season, and arguably the best defender in baseball. He led all of MLB with 29 defensive runs saved, and was voted the winner of the AL Platinum Glove. 

The A's need his glove -- and his bat -- healthy for spring training, no matter how the rest of the offseason shakes out.