Oakland wins for ninth time in 10 games

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Barry Zito finally got a few of the good bounces All-Star Mark Buehrle has been enjoying all season -- and as usual, Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox couldn't catch a break at the Coliseum.

Zito pitched eight solid innings and the Oakland Athletics scored four times in the sixth to send Buehrle to his first loss in nearly three months with a 7-2 victory Sunday.

Until the sixth, when Oakland's rally was abetted by Buehrle's fielding misadventures and umpire Paul Emmel's leg, Zito appeared headed for another hard-luck loss. The former Cy Young winner was 3-8 until this homestand despite a season of superb pitches, durability and increased leadership.

"Barry should be something like 12-4 with the kind of season he's having," said Jason Kendall, who drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the sixth. "His numbers don't match up with the way he's pitching. ... He just couldn't get lucky, and today he finally got a break."

While Oakland won for the ninth time in 10 games, the AL-leading White Sox lost for the 20th time in their last 24 games in Oakland, where Buehrle (10-2) is winless in 10 career appearances. After Friday night's loss, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said the
Coliseum was "the House of Terrors."

"Just another day in Oakland," Guillen said Sunday. "We were playing well, but the sixth and seventh came along and we didn't make the plays we needed and the game got away. Every time we come here, something always happens."

Zito (5-8) gave up early solo homers to Frank Thomas and Jermaine Dye but mostly stayed in control during his third win in five starts. Oakland's fortuitous rally provided the cushion he needed to beat another one of the AL's best lefties

"I knew I had to go deep in the game," said Zito, who allowed six hits and threw a season-high 124 pitches. "I knew we weren't going to get much. We got some good breaks today. It's nice to be on the other side of that."

Oakland scored its first two runs in the sixth without hitting the ball out of the infield. Eric Chavez and Bobby Kielty got infield singles -- with Kielty's hit smacking Emmel in the shin, despite the umpire's best efforts to avoid it.

Buehrle then made his first error of the season, fielding Eric Byrnes' comebacker but throwing it past Pablo Ozuna at second base. One out later, Buehrle couldn't corral Keith Ginter's shot back to the mound, allowing the tying run.

Kendall and Mark Kotsay followed with run-scoring hits.

Buehrle hadn't lost in 15 starts since April 10, but Chicago's star never got comfortable. He allowed a career-high 14 hits, including one in each of his 6 1/3 innings, and the A's finally broke through in the sixth to snap his career-best nine-game winning streak.

"It was one of those games: They got hits and scored on my mistakes," Buehrle said. "It's kind of frustrating. There's something here like a little jinx on us. We just don't play well here. It just keeps adding up here everything we do -- hitting, pitching, defense -- seems to be affected."

Nick Swisher hit an RBI single in the seventh before Buehrle left, and Mark Ellis drove in two more runs with a single off Luis Vizcaino.

Kotsay got four hits, Chavez had three and Byrnes reached base four times for the A's, who won for the 13th time in 15 games. With a victory in the opening game of their upcoming road trip in Toronto on Tuesday, the A's would be back at .500 for the first
time since May 2.

"I just liked the determination with which our guys played," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "It's been a joy in that dugout for the last three weeks or so. They believe in what they're doing right now, everything I've been beating the drum on for a long time now."

Thomas hit his ninth homer in the fourth, driving Zito's pitch into the second deck of seats down the left field line. Incredibly, nine of Thomas' 14 hits in his injury-plagued season have been homers.

Dye added a leadoff homer in the fifth, his 17th.

Game notes
After Oakland won the series opener Friday night, the White Sox snapped the A's eight-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory Saturday. But the A's won their seventh straight series, while the White Sox lost just their sixth series of the season. ... Thomas' homer was his 445th. He's 29th on the career list, just behind Jeff Bagwell. ... Oakland finished an 8-1 homestand.