Donaldson hits grand slam to lead A’s to win
CHICAGO — A comeback victory with a grand slam, a last-inning homer-saving catch. Just another win for the Oakland Athletics during a run that has put them in first place in the American League West.
Josh Donaldson hit his first career grand slam, Josh Reddick made a homer-saving catch in the ninth inning, and the Athletics rallied from a three-run deficit Friday night for a 4-3 victory over Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox.
“It’s a fun run,” Oakland right-hander Jarrod Parker said. “I think right now we’re putting together complete games and we’re playing well in all facets of the game.”
Donaldson’s ninth home run of the season came in the sixth inning and helped Parker (5-6) earn his fourth win in five decisions.
“He’s a really good pitcher, probably one of the best — if not the best — left-handed pitcher in the game,” Donaldson said of Sale. “He just put himself in a situation where he kind of had to come at me a little bit.
“I was fortunate enough to get a pitch that I could drive and I was able to hit it out of the park.”
Reddick made a leaping catch to take away a home run from Chicago’s Conor Gillaspie with one out in the ninth to preserve the win. The White Sox also had a ball Adam Dunn hit die at the warning track in Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the A’s in the ninth inning.
“I was stunned when Conor’s ball didn’t go out,” said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who acted as manager with Robin Ventura in California for his daughter’s graduation.
Sale (5-4) hadn’t given up more than two earned runs since April 13, and he cruised out to a 3-0 lead through five innings in this one.
In the sixth Adam Rosales singled and, after Coco Crisp struck out, Jed Lowrie singled. Yoenis Cespedes followed with walk, and Donaldson hit a 1-1 pitch for an opposite-field home run to right to give Oakland a 4-3 lead.
“Just shows you how important one pitch can be in a ballgame,” Sale said. “Off the bat I figured it was going to be a sac fly or something. It just kept going.”
Donaldson had also driven in a run against Sale to help beat him in Oakland 2-0 Sunday.
“He keeps coming up with bigger and bigger hits and his approach is great every time, especially with runners in scoring position,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said of Donaldson. “He’s pretty impressive.”
The Athletics won for the 18th time in 21 games and the White Sox lost for the 10th time in 11.
Parker beat the White Sox with a seven-inning, five-hit effort. He walked two and struck out four.
Reliever Ryan Cook pitched out of a first-and-second jam with none out in the eighth and Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his 15th save.
Sale stayed in the game for 118 pitches. He left after striking out Crisp to lead off the eighth. Sale allowed five hits, walked one and struck out six.
“We got our best guy out there, things are looking good — all of sudden they ain’t looking so good,” Cooper said. “But we did battle back.”
The White Sox led 1-0 on Tyler Flowers’ third-inning home run on a 0-2 pitch by Parker.
In the fourth, Dayan Viciedo’s sacrifice fly to left scored Alex Rios, who had singled, stole second when Dunn struck out, and moved to third when catcher Derek Norris threw the ball into center field for an error on the stolen base.
Chicago expanded the lead to 3-0 on a fifth-inning sacrifice fly by Alejandro De Aza, scoring Gordon Beckham. Beckham had led off with a single, moved up on Jordan Danks’ ground out and took third on Flowers’ single.
NOTES: The Athletics are now 5-0 on the season against Chicago. … The grand slam allowed by Sale was the first home run he gave up in five starts. … Flowers’ home run was his fifth, but first in 24 games. He matched a career high with three hits in the game. … Saturday’s starters will be Oakland’s Tommy Milone (6-5, 3.91) and Chicago’s John Danks (0-2, 5.06). … The White Sox have a family tie to their third-round pick in Friday’s baseball draft, outfielder Jacob May of Coastal Carolina. May is the grandson of former Cincinnati Reds player Lee May. Lee May’s brother is former White Sox first baseman Carlos May.