OAKLAND, Calif. – Jeff Samardzija rebounded from a rough stretch of starts with eight strong innings Sunday against the A’s.
The White Sox’ veteran right-hander didn’t always have his best stuff, but he made it through 120 pitches while allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks. He also struck out five against his former team.
“They just let me go,” Samardzija said. “Our bullpen has pitched a handful of innings here lately, so I was happy to keep going as long as they let me go. For me, that’s what it’s all about is throwing innings and getting your offense back in the dugout.”
Samardzija had surrendered 17 runs – 14 earned – in his previous three starts. More trouble looked to be on the way after loading the bases with two outs in the first inning, but he escaped any damage by getting Coco Crisp to fly out.
He gave up two runs on Max Muncy’s first career homer in the fourth inning, and he allowed one more to cross in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Billy Butler. He then retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.
“I know it was a high pitch count but he seems to get better the deeper he goes into games and the more pitches he throws,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That’s the reason for giving him the eighth.”
The Sox have gotten quality starts in four of the last five games.
Sweeps week: The Sox secured their first series sweep of the season with Sunday’s 7-3 victory.
It was the first sweep by the South Siders in nearly a year, having last done it against the Royals on May 28, 2014. The sweep was the club’s first on the road since Aug. 22, 2013, in Kansas City; first against the A’s since May 24, 2006; and first in Oakland since May 18, 1997.
The Sox, who have won 9 of 12, are also riding a five-game winning streak – something they haven’t done since winning six in row from Aug. 16-22, 2013.
Sanchez providing early returns: Second baseman Carlos Sanchez has been flashing the leather that earned him a promotion last week.
The 22-year-old played a part in turning two double plays Sunday, something the Sox had struggled with before his arrival.
He’s shown impressive range up the middle and made a nice running flip to Alexei Ramirez to start the second double play.
“Sanchy has played great since he got here,” Ventura said. “Swinging the bat, too. He’s just a heady player and he’s consistent and you look forward to seeing that.”
Tidbits: The start time of the makeup doubleheader in Baltimore on May 28 has been changed to 12:05 p.m. CT. It was previously set to start at 3:05 p.m. … The Sox outrighted right-handed pitcher Raul Fernandez to Double-A Birmingham on Sunday. The 40-man roster is at 39. … Jose Abreu is riding a 12-game hitting streak.