The AL West-leading Oakland Athletics are the hottest team in baseball, and the last-place Chicago White Sox have been a frequent victim of late.
The A's look to continue their staggering stretch behind superb pitching and timely hitting and beat the White Sox for a sixth straight meeting Saturday.
Oakland (38-25) has won 18 of 21 games, moving past Texas to regain the division lead for the first time since April 20.
That tremendous surge has been spurred by a 2.47 ERA, with the starters posting a 1.60 mark in that span.
Five of the Athletics' last seven victories have come against the White Sox (25-34), who have dropped 10 of 11 while batting .213 and averaging 2.6 runs.
Oakland has won all five meetings this season, the last four decided by two runs or one.
Adam Rosales ' solo homer in the top of the 10th lifted the A's to a 5-4 win Thursday and Josh Donaldson erased a three-run deficit in the sixth with his first career grand slam in Friday's 4-3 victory. Josh Reddick 's homer-saving catch in the ninth may have sealed the win.
"It's a fun run," said Jarrod Parker , Friday's winning pitcher. "I think right now we're putting together complete games and we're playing well in all facets of the game."
Donaldson is batting .400 with 13 RBIs over the past 14 games, increasing his season average to a team-leading .329. He hit .241 in 75 games last year.
"He keeps coming up with bigger and bigger hits and his approach is great every time, especially with runners in scoring position," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's pretty impressive."
Tommy Milone (6-5, 3.91 ERA) starts for the A's seeking to win four straight decisions for the first time.
The offense has played a big part in the left-hander's winning streak, backing him with an average of 7.7 runs while he's gone 3-0 with a 4.32 ERA.
Milone got plenty of help Monday, when he allowed two runs in seven innings as the offense pounded out a season-high 19 hits in a 10-2 win at Milwaukee. He even took part in the offensive onslaught, getting two hits and an RBI.
The White Sox have totaled 10 runs and batted .195 with one homer against the A's this season.
John Danks (0-2, 5.63) tries a fourth time for his first win after starting the season on the disabled list following shoulder surgery.
The left-hander was a 4-2 loser at Seattle on Monday, giving up four runs - three earned - in six innings. He tossed a season-high 104 pitches, but continued to struggle with the velocity of his fastball - a byproduct of surgery.
"I've kind of taken the mindset that I'm going to go out there with what I have, try to stay within myself and throw the ball down in the zone," Danks told the team's official website.
He's 5-1 with a 2.26 ERA in eight starts against the A's, but hasn't faced them since a win at U.S. Cellular Field on June 11, 2011.
|Alejandro De Aza||3||.000||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Right foot stress fracture|
|April 30, 2013||Chris Young||15-Day DL||Strained left quad|
|Chicago White Sox|
|June 05, 2013||Jake Peavy||15-Day DL||Fractured rib - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 04, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Left game - Rib pain|
|May 30, 2013||Dewayne Wise||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 22, 2013||Chris Sale||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|May 02, 2013||Dewayne Wise||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|May 02, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
CHICAGO (AP) -- John Danks wants to show he can be a reliable starter again. How's this for evidence?
Danks pitched three-hit ball over eight innings for his first victory in more than a year, and the Chicago White Sox won for just the second time in 12 games, beating the surging Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Saturday.
"I want to be a stopper," Danks said. "I want to be a guy that goes out there and can be depended on to give us as good a chance to win as anybody."
He did just that, and he got just enough support in the end.
Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko homered. Alex Rios drove in the go-ahead run, and the White Sox handed the Athletics just their fourth loss in 22 games.
Dunn connected leading off the second to tie the score at 1-all, and it stayed that way until the White Sox scored three against the struggling Sean Doolittle (3-1) in the eighth.
Alejandro De Aza led off with an infield single and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Alexei Ramirez before Rios broke the tie with a single to center. Konerko followed with a two-run drive to left.
"The ball Konerko hit was pretty much off his shoetops," said Doolittle, who's allowed 10 runs in his last 3 2-3 innings. "So it's kind of, today they just beat me and I have to tip my hat to them.
The rally made a winner of Danks (1-2), who struck out six and walked one in his fourth start. He retired the final 21 batters he faced on the way to his first win since he beat the Cubs on May 19 last season.
That also turned out to be the final start of the year for Danks, who had surgery in August to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in his rotator cuff and biceps.
"This is more indicative of what you would want to see," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's a competitor always, but with the ability to throw and have location and keep guys off balance and have a feel for the game. When you're not quite right, he doesn't have as good a feel for it as he does in the last two starts."
Danks won a career-high 15 games for the White Sox in 2010 and hasn't reached that level since then. His first three starts were a bit up and down, but this was more like it.
Never mind that his command of the fastball weren't quite there. He had his curve working, and that was enough to lower his ERA from 5.63 to 4.13.
"His velocity is climbing, it looks like, as he goes, but he's definitely pitching with less velocity than he's had when it was years ago," Konerko said. "But that can be a good thing if he pitches now and learns to do some things that he might have to do. Then if he gets back to where he's going to get to - which I'm sure he will - now you have both weapons."
Addison Reed worked a scoreless ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances. It was a big improvement after giving up five runs in a non-save opportunity against Seattle on Wednesday.
Tommy Milone went seven innings for Oakland, allowing one run and four hits, but did not figure in the decision. He struck out seven, walked one, and is 3-0 in his past five starts.
"I was just trying to match what Danks was doing," he said. "He was going out there throwing strikes and getting us out. To end his night he retired 21 in a row that was pretty impressive. I was trying to match him and keep our team in the game."
NOTES: Ventura expects to fulfill his contract and has no plans to quit if the White Sox overhaul their roster. He's in the second season of a three-year deal, and his team entered Saturday's game last in the AL Central at 25-34. "There, for one reason or another, are whispers (that) because it's going like this, I'm not going to come back," he said. "That's the farthest thing from the truth. For me, I'm in it for as long as I'm in it and you go from there. A situation like this, I'd be ashamed to walk away just because it's tough. I think that's part of being in it with these guys - that I'm here as much as they are as far as turning it around and being ready to go." ... Ventura was back managing the White Sox after missing two games to attend his daughter's graduation in California. ... Tony La Russa made it clear he has no desire to return to the dugout. "I had my time," said the former Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis manager. "I have passed the baton. Now, I see how much fun it is to second guess." LaRussa was in town for a reception honoring the White Sox's 1983 AL West championship team. ... RHP A.J. Griffin (5-4, 3.67 ERA) starts for Oakland on Sunday, with LHP Hector Santiago (1-4, 3.35) going for the White Sox.