Chapman homers, Montas shuts down White Sox as A’s end skid
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The consistency of Frankie Montas every fifth day has meant so much to the Oakland Athletics down the stretch.
He pitched them back into the win column Wednesday night, and the defending AL West champions desperately needed it.
Matt Chapman homered early, Montas won his third straight start and the A’s beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1 to snap a four-game losing streak.
“It’s been a tough four days. Getting the win tonight feels like it puts us in the right direction,” Montas said.
Montas (12-9) allowed one run and six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in seven sparkling innings. He had lost his only previous regular-season appearance against the White Sox last month.
“The deeper in the season he goes it seems like the more economical he is with his pitches, too,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Limits the walks, gets big strikeouts and has pitched as well as he has in his career here for the last probably two months.”
Montas benefited from some snazzy defense behind him, too: Oakland turned inning-ending double plays in three of the first four frames. First baseman Matt Olson made a wild throw home that led to a White Sox run in the fifth, but the A’s slugger contributed an RBI single in the bottom half only to be caught in a rundown trying to take another base.
Chad Pinder drove in a run with a sixth-inning triple. Yan Gomes and Elvis Andrus each had an RBI single for the A’s, who drew a crowd of 8,147 as they try to stay in the playoff race.
Oakland got to Dallas Keuchel (8-9) early, and the Chicago lefty saw his losing streak reach three games during a four-start winless stretch since he beat Montas on Aug. 16. Keuchel allowed five runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and a walk.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa saw encouraging signs from Keuchel despite the result and knows there is still time for him to get on a roll in September. The pitcher felt good about it, too, saying, “I feel like I’m there.”
“The consistency was there tonight. I felt like myself,” he said. “There wasn’t any pitches that I’d like to have back.”
The A’s have lost the season series with Chicago for the first time since 2016 — trailing 4-2 with Thursday the final scheduled meeting between the teams. Oakland beat the White Sox in the first round of the playoffs last year.
White Sox rookie Romy Gonzalez singled in the ninth for his first major league hit.
“That was a highlight,” La Russa said. “He’s really putting on a good show.”
White Sox: LF Eloy Jiménez severely bruised his right knee when he was hit by a foul ball while sitting in the dugout during the second inning Tuesday night and is day to day. Jiménez stayed in the game initially before a slide into home plate in the fifth increased his knee pain and he exited. “I was paying attention to the game. I never expected a foul ball coming into my knee. It was crazy,” Jiménez said a day later, able to laugh about it. X-rays were negative but Jiménez was held of Chicago’s lineup Wednesday night. He didn’t test it out, saying, “today’s just rest.” “He’s got a significant bone bruise there, but the X-ray was negative so it’s just real sore. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” La Russa said. “It takes a while for it to bark. He slid, he felt it, but it was sore already. But it’s just like if something’s sore, you hit it again, it hurts again. If it was going to stiffen up more, that’s why sometimes you get a guy out right away and put ice on it.”
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt is scheduled to throw on flat ground Thursday and might pitch off the mound Saturday if all goes well. He’s just more than two weeks post-op from facial surgery to repair three cheekbone fractures from an Aug. 17 line drive against the White Sox in Chicago. ... RHP Mike Fiers, sidelined since May 7 with a sprained pitching elbow, will face hitters Friday. ... OF Seth Brown, working back from COVID-19, will play a rehab game Thursday with Class A Stockton. ... 2B Josh Harrison was able to play after exiting Tuesday with lower back tightness, while fellow 2B Tony Kemp sat out after injuring his left wrist in a collision but insisted he would play Thursday.
A’s RHP Miguel Romero was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and the Cuban pitcher will make his major league debut at age 27.
“I’m just blessed to be here,” Romero said.
Oakland optioned LHP A.J. Puk to Las Vegas after Tuesday’s game.
RHP Reynaldo López (3-1, 2.08 ERA) pitches for the White Sox seeking his first win in the last three starts. Oakland LHP Sean Manaea (8-9, 3.91) is 0-3 with an 8.00 ERA and nine home runs allowed over his past six starts.
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