CHICAGO -- Billy Butler's three-run homer off White Sox closer David Robertson in the ninth inning turned a one-run deficit into a 4-2 A's victory Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
The blast to right came with one out in the ninth and Brett Lawrie and Danny Valencia on base, with it landing in Avisail Garcia's glove on a leaping effort before falling over the fence when he made contact with the wall. The ball might not have carried out without Garcia's assistance, but gave Oakland a split of the four-game set when it landed in the A's bullpen.
"I saw him catch it, but then I saw the bullpen's reaction," Butler said. "That was a pretty cool feeling when I saw their hands go up. That situation, I'm just trying to get the guy in from third. Just got a pitch out over the plate and drove it to right. I got rewarded for a good path and a good approach."
"Yeah, he had a couple of those there where they got him twice, basically, in this series," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the poorly located cutter from Robertson that cost him in the ninth.
Instead of picking up his fourth straight winning decision, Jose Quintana was hung with his 50th no-decision since 2012. Quintana struck out six, walked one and allowed four hits over seven innings. The White Sox took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Melky Cabrera singled home Micah Johnson, after Oakland starter Sean Nolin walked Johnson and Alexei Ramirez with one out, but it would not hold.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Doo for the win: A's closer Sean Doolittle, who had pitched just once in the previous nine days, was awarded the win after facing the minimum in the eighth and ninth. It was the left-hander's ninth appearance of the season and fifth since returning from the disabled list, but first spanning multiple innings since last year's American League Wild Card Game.
"I needed him to pitch today," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We need to keep him throwing, and as long as he didn't throw 20 pitches in that first inning, he was going to go out for a second. At some point in time, we have to move him along anyways, as opposed to just one inning. We'll go back-to-back days with him at some point, too."
Albers on target: With a routine eighth, White Sox reliever Matt Albers extended career highs in consecutive scoreless appearances (16) and scoreless innings (19 2/3). His ERA dropped to 1.30.
Back-to-back jacks:Mike Olt, trying to put himself in position to contend for the 2016 third-base job with the White Sox, homered for the second straight game. Olt's prodigious clout was projected by Statcast™ to travel 443 feet.
Two walks too many: Nolin impressed again in his third start, limiting the White Sox to two runs and five hits across five innings on 94 pitches. But he was done in by consecutive one-out walks in the fifth, setting the stage for Cabrera's ensuing RBI single. In his three starts, Nolin has allowed six earned runs in 16 2/3 innings.
A SPECIAL KIND OF PITCHER
Quintana has never posted double-digit victories, which made Oakland's ninth-inning rally that much more frustrating for all involved on the White Sox side.
"We're not doing it on purpose. He knows that," said Ventura of Quintana's bad luck. "As much as you test somebody's patience, he's good. He's solid. He's as consistent as anybody. He's done that since Day 1, even his first time time up here as just a spot start. He hasn't changed. He's just more mature now."
"He's one of the hardest workers on this team," said Robertson of Quintana. "He gets a quality start almost every time he takes the ball. You can't say enough about the guy. His record should be better. I can think of a couple of occasions and now I've messed one up for him again. It's frustrating for me. I've got to be better."
Oakland's only run off Quintana scored on Marcus Semien's third-inning single.
"I'm surprised to hear that. I appreciate it and feel confidence every time I go to it. Every time I try to do the best I can do and try to do my job better and better every time. Pitching next time, I'm going to try to do better to win." -- Quintana, on being considered an elite starting pitcher
INJURY UPDATE J.B. Shuck left Thursday's game in the seventh with left hamstring soreness. Trayce Thompson played for the first time since hyperextending his left elbow in the ninth inning of Monday's win, pinch-running in the ninth. Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton had a day off, although Abreu would have hit in the ninth if he represented the potential tying or winning run.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: Oakland's 10-game road swing continues Friday in Houston, where the A's will open a three-game series with the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Left-hander Felix Doubront, who is 2-1 with an 8.27 ERA over his past three starts, looks to turn things around in the 5:10 p.m. PT opener.
White Sox:Chris Sale continues to keep the single-season franchise record of 269 strikeouts in his sights, sitting at 250 entering Cleveland for the series opener Friday at 6:10 p.m. CT. The southpaw has made 28 starts and has failed to work at least six innings in just six of those.