The Chicago White Sox had a two-run lead with two outs in the eighth inning against the team with the worst record in baseball.
They left the eighth tied after the Oakland Athletics scored twice in unconventional fashion.
One run came in when Joe Kelly was called for a balk. The other crossed home on an infield hit by Tony Kemp to tie the score.
That set up the most brutal loss of the season for the Sox.
Tyler Wade scored from second on a fielding error by second baseman Elvis Andrus to give the A’s a 7-6 victory in 10 innings in front of 9,235 on Saturday at Oakland Coliseum.
“That was a tough one today, a real tough one,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “We use our whole roster, basically, and ended up on the losing end.
“These games when you use every pitcher and everybody on the roster, you want to win them. But it didn’t go our way.”
Wade was on second with two outs in the 10th. JJ Bleday hit a grounder to Andrus, who didn’t field it cleanly. Andrus recovered, but Bleday beat his throw to first. Wade kept running and scored ahead of the throw to the plate by first baseman Gavin Sheets.
“I thought (Andrus) did a good job of getting down on the ball,” Grifol said of the final play. “It just hit off his glove.
“And then threw the ball to first base and — I haven’t seen the video — but it seemed like to me live that (Sheets) reacted late on that throw to home. But I haven’t seen the video on that, so I’ll look at it here after we’re done.”
The Sox have dropped the first two in a series in which they couldn’t afford this type of stumble.
The eighth inning alone was filled with momentum swings.
Trailing 4-3, Luis Robert Jr. doubled and Eloy Jiménez walked to start a rally for the Sox. A’s reliever Lucas Erceg struck out Andrew Vaughn and Jake Burger and had Yasmani Grandal in a 1-2 count.
Grandal lined an RBI single to right to tie the score. Carlos Pérez was called on to pinch hit and fell behind 0-2 in the count.
Pérez then pulled a sinker that stayed just fair down the third-base line for an RBI double, giving the Sox a 5-4 lead. Andrew Benintendi drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning, making it 6-4.
But the A’s came right back with their unorthodox rally, which eventually led to a devastating defeat.
“It was a tough one,” Sox starter Dylan Cease said. “We battled to the end. Unfortunately it was one of those that didn’t go our way.”
Saturday saw the Sox trail, lead, fall behind again, fight back and then fall in a painful way.
“This one hurts a little bit, but tomorrow is another game,” Jiménez said. “We’ve got so much baseball left. Today was tough, but tomorrow is another game.”
Jiménez — who had two hits and a walk — homered leading off the second to tie the score at 1. He broke the tie an inning later, driving in Tim Anderson with a single. Robert scored on a fielder’s choice, stretching the Sox lead to 3-1.
The A’s were on the verge of a big fifth inning when Bleday’s grounder appeared headed to the outfield for a two-run single.
Sox second baseman Zach Remillard dived and got a glove on it. The ball was hit so hard, it jarred Remillard’s glove from his hand. But most importantly for the Sox, he slowed the ball enough to keep it in the infield, meaning only one run could score.
That play turned out to be important when Anderson fielded A’s catcher Carlos Pérez’s grounder to short deep in the hole and threw him out at first to end the inning.
The Sox were able to limit the damage again in the sixth after Ryan Noda tied the score with an RBI double against Cease.
The next two batters reached via a walk and single against reliever Gregory Santos, loading the bases with one out. Santos struck out Esteury Ruiz, and Kemp grounded out to second, keeping the score tied at 3.
Seth Brown broke the tie with a solo homer in the seventh against Keynan Middleton.
Then came the wild eighth — which also included a fair/foul reversal on what was initially ruled a grand slam by Anderson — and both teams failed to come through with chances in the ninth.
The A’s found a way in the 10th, and the Sox find themselves again having to look for a way to bounce back.
“We play tomorrow, that’s the message (to the team),” Grifol said. “Just come back out, put the uniform on and go bust your ass out there.”
Source: Berkshire mont