Maybe it's not a West Coast thing after all. Maybe it's an Oakland thing.
After the White Sox had lost 20 of 24 games to the A's on the West Coast, they figured maybe they could get something going back in the Midwest.
They figured wrong.
The red-hot A's got them again, this time 4-2 before a Friday night fireworks crowd of 33,623 at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I don't think it's a jinx, I think they have a pretty good pitching staff," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Three A's pitchers "held" the Sox to nine hits Friday, but the A's hitters knocked around possible All-Star Game starter Jon Garland for eight hits in five innings.
Garland, who failed to become the major leagues' first 14-game winner, had his shortest outing since last Aug. 19 and fell to 0-2 in his last two starts at home.
"They made him work," Guillen said. "When you face the Oakland A's, they're going to make you go deep in the count. You know when you face Oakland you have to throw the ball over the plate."
Garland's next appearance could be as the starter in Detroit Tuesday night for the AL All-Stars.
"I hope not. Nope," Guillen said. "I hope he doesn't pitch in the All-Star Game."
That is unlikely. It also is unlikely Mark Buehrle will not pitch, although he starts Saturday for the Sox as he tries to shut down the A's, who came to town having won 14 of their previous 18 games and seven of their last eight series.
Garland (13-4) threw 112 pitches, his second-highest total of the season, in only five innings.
He didn't run into trouble until a third inning when the A's scored twice and left three men on base.
Nick Swisher, Marco Scutaro and Jason Kendall started the rally with hits and, after a second out, Bobby Crosby doubled and Eric Chavez walked.
The A's came back with a third run in the fifth inning when Scutaro led off with a double, Mark Kotsay singled and Crosby doubled.
"I threw some good pitches, they fouled a lot of them off," Garland said. "They made me throw a lot of pitches. They had a game plan and they stuck to it.
"I only went five innings. I didn't do my job."
The Sox's offense was productive at the top and bottom but was hurt by hitless nights by three-four-five hitters Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynksi and Jermaine Dye.
The Sox had baserunners in each of the first seven innings against Oakland starter Kirk Saarloos (5-5). But they scored only in the fourth and seventh innings after wasting singles and stolen bases by Scott Podsednik in the first and third.
The first Sox run came in the fourth when leadoff man Dye was hit by a pitch, went to second Timo Perez's single, to third on a force out and scored on Juan Uribe's ground out to first base.
The Sox closed to 3-2 in the seventh when Uribe singled, was sacrificed to second by Podsednik and came home on Carl Everett's single.
But the A's came back with one more in the eighth off bullpen standouts Neal Cotts and Cliff Politte.
It was another loss to the A's.
"In the past you can say it was [Barry] Zito, [Tim] Hudson and [Mark] Mulder, that was the jinx," Guillen said. "Now they're pitching good again and they know how to play the game."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun