Whether it's injury related or not, the Chicago White Sox haven't been able to get the big hit lately.
The surging Oakland Athletics feel like they're going to get the job done every time.
Chicago will try to avoid a third straight loss Friday night, with the Athletics' Brandon McCarthy set for his first start at U.S. Cellular Field since being traded from the White Sox six years ago.
Chicago (60-50) is battling Detroit for the top spot in the AL Central, but its lineup has been hit by injuries of late with Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios , Kevin Youkilis and Paul Konerko missing time.
The absence of those key hitters appeared to finally show up in the last two games - both losses - in which the White Sox totaled three runs and batted .182 (2 for 11) with runners in scoring position.
Rios, among the best in the major leagues with a .381 average with RISP, should return after missing a game, but Konerko is questionable following a collision at first base.
He'll be re-evaluated Friday and could be placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list.
"We just need him to get better and get back as soon as he can," catcher A.J. Pierzynski told the White Sox's official website.
His potential absence won't help with the A's (60-51) on a 23-9 tear. Oakland had slowed down a bit with a three-game losing streak before rebounding with back-to-back wins, scoring 19 runs in those games to take two of three from AL West rival Los Angeles.
"I feel like when the game is tied or close late in the game, we're going to win every game," first baseman Chris Carter told the A's official website after a 9-8 victory Wednesday.
Getting McCarthy (6-3, 2.54 ERA) back after he was sidelined by a strained right shoulder could add to the team's confidence and solidify a starting staff that's surrendered four or more runs nine times in 14 games.
McCarthy, who will be making his first start since June 19, has allowed more than two runs just three times in his 12 outings.
The right-hander has gone 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the White Sox since Chicago traded him to Texas in 2006. He struck out nine in six scoreless innings at Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday and threw a pain-free bullpen session Wednesday.
"That's the key to his game, he gets a lot of early outs and makes things happen quick," bullpen coach Curt Young said.
That would be a good strategy for Chicago's Gavin Floyd (8-9, 4.43). The right-hander threw 41 pitches during a three-run first in his last start and lasted 6 1-3 innings, allowing five runs in a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Angels on Saturday.
Floyd, 2-0 with a 1.27 ERA in three home starts against the A's, pitched 7 1-3 innings of one-run ball in a 2-0 loss at Oakland on April 24.
Chicago took three of four in Oakland's last visit June 9-12, 2011. The A's have won eight of 10 on the road.
|August 05, 2012||A.J. Griffin||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|August 04, 2012||A.J. Griffin||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|August 03, 2012||Seth Smith||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|August 03, 2012||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right wrist|
|July 28, 2012||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left hamstring tightness|
|July 20, 2012||Cliff Pennington||15-Day DL||Left elbow tendinitis|
|Chicago White Sox|
|August 08, 2012||Alex Rios||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|August 08, 2012||Paul Konerko||Day-to-Day||Mild concussion|
|August 07, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 06, 2012||Alejandro De Aza||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|August 05, 2012||Francisco Liriano||Day-to-Day||Bruised left quadriceps|
|July 25, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained left ankle|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Jordan Danks stepped to the plate in the ninth inning and imagined himself hitting a game-winning home run.
Then he did it.
Danks hit his first major league homer in the bottom of the ninth and the Chicago White Sox overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Friday night.
"Being late in the game, especially bottom of the ninth, it's something that everybody dreams about their whole life," Danks said. "Right before that I saw myself doing it and it was just one of those things. It was just awesome."
With two outs in the ninth, Danks sent the first pitch he saw from Pat Neshek (1-1) deep into the right-field seats for Chicago's fourth solo shot of the game. Dayan Viciedo , A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez also connected.
Brett Myers (1-1) pitched a scoreless inning to help the AL Central leaders win for the 11th time in 16 games. Viciedo tied it at 3 with his homer in the seventh, snapping a 5-for-43 slide.
Before the game, the White Sox placed All-Star slugger Paul Konerko on the seven-day concussion disabled list. The first baseman took an elbow to the right temple area Tuesday on a close play at first and is eligible to return Aug. 17.
"It's not going to be easy not having him in the lineup," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "It's the best thing for him to get him back at full strength. We're just going to have to find ways to have guys like Jordan Danks come through in ways like that."
The White Sox won for the 14th time in 18 home games and maintained a one-game lead over second-place Detroit.
Brandon Moss hit a two-run homer for Oakland.
Brandon McCarthy came off the disabled list to make his first start for the A's since June 19. He had been sidelined with a strained shoulder.
The right-hander was staked to an early 3-0 lead but couldn't hold it, allowing a season-high three home runs.
"You don't see that often, but they were four pitches that were hittable pitches and they took advantage of all of them," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said.
Pierzynski extended his career high with his 22nd homer in the second and Ramirez hit a hanging curve out to left in the fourth, his fifth of the year.
"It's sort of nice to look up there and see some good numbers so far," Pierzynski said. "But the biggest thing, we're winning and that makes up for all of it."
McCarthy, who broke into the majors with the White Sox in 2005, was chased by Viciedo's drive. He went six-plus innings, allowing three runs and six hits.
Moss provided the big early blow for Oakland. After Chris Carter 's ground-rule double leading off the second, he hit a towering home run down the right-field line off starter Gavin Floyd to give the Athletics a 3-0 cushion.
Floyd allowed seven runners in the first three innings, but pitched into the seventh. He gave up three runs and seven hits. The White Sox bullpen backed him up with three scoreless innings.
"It's kind of been like that the last couple games," Floyd said. "But it is what it is. I've got to go out there and compete and try to keep the team in the game. It's not always going to be like that, but when it does happen I'm going to battle my butt off to try to put up zeros."
Oakland got on the board in the first inning on an RBI groundout by Josh Reddick .
NOTES: Oakland announced starting pitchers Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker would be pushed back and LHP Travis Blackley will make a spot start Saturday. Parker is expected to start Tuesday in Kansas City and Milone next Friday against Cleveland. ... The White Sox send LHP Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.03 ERA) to the mound against Blackley (4-3, 3.30) on Saturday.