OAKLAND (AP) — Oakland’s Trevor Cahill lost his undefeated record and gained the respect of Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen and lefty Mark Buehrle.
Shortly after the White Sox beat the Athletics 4-3 on Sunday and handed Cahill his first loss of the season, Guillen sat in his office and declared the Oakland right-hander one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Around the corner in the Chicago clubhouse, Buehrle also fawned over Cahill’s pitches.
Even on a bad day, the ace of the A’s rotation is too good to ignore.
“He has some of the best stuff in the game,” Guillen said. “We got lucky. He can be a serious candidate for the Cy Young Award. I know it’s early but he has the stuff.”
Cahill (6-1) gave up four runs, just two of them earned. One came on a solo home run to Alexei Ramirez, who had three of the season-high 10 hits Cahill allowed.
It could have been worse, too. The A’s turned four double plays while second baseman Mark Ellis made several stellar defensive plays to shut down Chicago threats.
Still, Cahill was good enough that Guillen couldn’t stop gushing about the right-hander.
“To hear him say that, especially on a day like today when I didn’t feel I wasn’t as sharp, definitely is a confidence booster,” Cahill said. “I wouldn’t say it was my best start. I kind of battled through it.”
Buehrle (3-3) won for only the second time in 15 appearances at Oakland. He gave up three runs, seven hits and struck out a season-best six, then later joined Guillen in praising Cahill.
“If my sinker is half as good as his I’ll take it,” Buehrle said. “I don’t have to face him but I hear guys coming back to the bench talking about how much his stuff moves. And it’s not just the sinker, it’s also his changeup.”
Sergio Santos pitched the ninth for his fifth consecutive save, extending his scoreless streak to 19 innings for the White Sox who went 6-3 on their road trip, winning all three series.
It was anything but routine, though. Santos walked Cliff Pennington to lead off the inning and walked pinch hitter Hideki Matsui with two outs before Josh Willingham grounded out.
“The big hit, when we needed it, eluded us,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “What was outstanding today was our defense. We just didn’t get the big hit.”
Daric Barton drove in two runs and Coco Crisp homered for the A’s, who have lost three of their last four.
Ramirez drove in two runs and Omar Vizquel had two hits.
Ramirez hit Cahill’s first pitch of the fourth inning over the left field fence.
Crisp tied the game with a solo shot in the fifth after Carlos Quentin put the White Sox ahead for good with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Chicago added two unearned runs in the seventh, when Cahill threw wildly to first on Vizquel’s sacrifice bunt, allowing Alex Rios to score. Ramirez added an RBI single.
Barton hit a two-run single in the seventh.
The A’s four double plays included a 9-3 and a 4-3-6-3.
NOTES: The last time the A’s turned four or more double plays was Aug. 2, when they had five against Kansas City, also with Cahill on the mound. … LHP Dallas Braden’s flight to New York on Sunday was cancelled, so he’ll fly out on Monday. That also means his shoulder surgery will be pushed back at least one day.
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