OAKLAND — The White Sox offense has begun to develop a knack for the big comeback.
A five-run, seventh-inning rally Friday night helped the White Sox win for the seventh time in 10 games as they downed the Oakland A’s 7-6 in front of 21,464. Adam LaRoche and Avisail Garcia each had two-run hits and Zach Duke earned a four-out save with the help of a great, game-ending defensive play as the White Sox — who have nine comeback victories — improved to 15-17.
“It just says a lot about guys’ fight and not laying down and assuming we’re beat,” said LaRoche, who drove in three runs. “That’s been huge for us to be borderline dead for five or six innings with nothing going and then all of a sudden go out and score three or four runs.”
Just like they did on Monday in Milwaukee, and several times earlier in the season, the White Sox rallied from what seemed like an insurmountable deficit.
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The White Sox trailed 6-2 with Oakland starter Jesse Hahn on a roll, having retired 18 of 20 after he allowed two first-inning runs.
But Brett Lawrie’s error on Geovany Soto’s one-out grounder and a single to left by Carlos Sanchez woke the White Sox from their slumber.
Adam Eaton then just beat the relay on a potential inning-ending double play and Melky Cabrera followed with an RBI single off reliever Fernando Rodriguez. Rodriguez hit Jose Abreu to load the bases and LaRoche shaved the deficit to 6-5 with a two-run double to right center off left-hander Fernando Abad. Avisail Garcia completed the comeback with a two-run double to left-center field off Evan Scribner.
“As much as it sputtered for awhile it’s been good lately,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It was a good first inning and after that Hahn was tough. I think he only gave up one hit after four or five innings.
“I think they kinda fed off each other.
“It was big.”
The White Sox looked as if they’d continue a recent hot streak with the bats after scoring twice off Hahn in the first inning. LaRoche drew a bases-loaded walk to put them ahead 1-0 and Conor Gillaspie singled in another run. But the White Sox left a few runs on the board as Hahn wiggled out of trouble and took control.
Before Lawrie’s error gave, the only hit off Hahn came via an Alexei Ramirez bunt single in the fourth.
The White Sox offense entered Friday hitting .285/.350/.408 with 50 runs scored in its previous 11 games. The same group scored 64 in its first 20 games.
“We’ve shown that the game is never really over,” Duke said. “We’ve come back late in games, so we’re staying on edge out there in the bullpen at all times.”
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A ninth-inning rally by Oakland nearly sent the game into extras. With David Robertson off limits (he pitched on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday), Duke returned in the ninth to close it out. He walked pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt with two outs and Coco Crisp lined a double to deep left-center field. A’s third-base coach Mike Gallego waved Vogt home and a strong relay from Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez with a cut off by Jose Abreu led to a game-ending rundown.
“Hooray,” Duke said. “Hallelujah. It was just awesome, just expertly done. Every throw hit the guy in the chest, and a head’s up play to cut it off.”
Rookie starting pitcher Carlos Rodon had to be having similar thoughts after he was out of sorts.
Making his second career start, Rodon hit a wild streak, walking six batters, including three in the fourth inning. Rodon, who pitched out of trouble in the first three innings, gave up a leadoff solo home run to left to former Charlotte batterymate Josh Phegley in the fourth.
One out later, Rodon issued three straight walks and Josh Reddick later cleared the bases with a three-run triple to put Oakland ahead 4-2.
The next inning, Rodon walked two more batters — one scored — and gave way to reliever Scott Carroll. Carroll allowed a run in the sixth when Reddick doubled and Billy Butler singled him in as the A’s pulled ahead 6-2.
“That’s big,” Rodon said. “Teammates picked me up, the bats showed up later on in the game and we scored, made a big run there and end up winning that game. It’s a lot better than losing, that’s for sure.”