White Sox fall short in bid for four-game sweep of A’s

Matt Olson’s two-run homer off Michael Kopech was the difference in the Athletics’ 5-4 win, but the Sox took three of four.

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The A’s Matt Olson, right, celebrates with Elvis Andrus after hitting a two-run home run during the seventh inning against the White Sox in Chicago, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Three out of four isn’t bad.

Especially against a quality team like the Athletics (69-53), who got out of town with a 5-4 victory over the White Sox (71-51) on Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Sox had chances to complete the sweep but settled for a quality series win in the midst of a stretch against four contending teams.

Dylan Cease pitched six innings of three-run ball and exited with the game tied at 3, but Matt Olson ripped a two-run homer with two outs against Michael Kopech (3-2) in the seventh. The A’s tried to help in the ninth when shortstop Elvis Andrus knocked a game-ending out from center fielder Starling Marte’s glove, allowing Zack Collins to score and putting Jose Abreu on second. But Eloy Jimenez’s hard liner to Marte ended it.

“We got the series win, which is big and [winning three of four against] a team as talented as they are is something to build on,” Cease said. “We just have to keep doing it.”

The Sox were 4-3 against the Yankees and A’s on the homestand, which included the Field of Dreams game. The Rays and Blue Jays are next on the road.

“It was a good series,” said first baseman Andrew Vaughn, whose two-run homer in the fifth gave the Sox a 3-2 lead. “We made a couple miscues and they hit a couple homers and we lose. Go to Tampa Bay and start a new one.”

The Sox settled for one run when they loaded the bases after an RBI double by Jimenez in the first against lefty Cole Irvin, and they left the bases loaded in the third.

Cease gave up leadoff homers to Sean Murphy and Matt Chapman, the latter a go-ahead blast in the sixth.

Three batters before Olson’s homer, Vaughn dived to his right for Andrus’ grounder that could have been played by second baseman Cesar Hernandez, then threw high from his knees to Kopech covering first. Andrus scored on Olson’s homer.

“My first move was to go get the ball,” Vaughn said. “I just went to get it because the pitcher had been covering either way if I fielded it or [Hernandez] fielded it. And I just made a bad throw.”

A rest for Tim

Shortstop Tim Anderson had a planned day off after a night game.

“He puts so much into it, and 12 hours later it’s asking a lot and you run that tank dry,” manager Tony La Russa said. “So it’s a good day that will get him ready for the weekend and four in Toronto.”

No immediate plans for extra rest

Starters Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Cease had varying extra days of rest after the All-Star break, but there are no immediate plans for extra rest in road series against the Rays and Blue Jays, and the Cubs at home next weekend. After that, “off days [on Aug. 30, Sept. 2 and Sept. 6] will accomplish giving guys rest,” La Russa said.

The Sox have a double-digit lead in the American League Central, but “we’re taking nothing for granted and trying to win the series, trying to win the game,” La Russa said.

Rodon (shoulder fatigue) is “penciled in” to come off the 10-day injured list and start a game in Toronto.

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