Eveland hits road bump in Chicago

Eveland hits road bump in Chicago

CHICAGO -- It's called a "getaway day," and having won six of the first seven games on their three-city swing, the A's went into Tuesday's series finale in Chicago on quite a nice little roll.

They didn't get away with anything in the road-trip finale, however, falling 4-1 at the hands of the host White Sox in the second of two games at U.S. Cellular Field.

"It wasn't our best game," said A's manager Bob Geren.

Not by a long shot. Lefty Dana Eveland couldn't get out of the fifth inning, Oakland's defense made two errors to give it 11 on the road trip, and the offense didn't make any noise until a last-gasp rally in the ninth inning fell short as Chicago salvaged a series split.

Still, the A's were mostly upbeat, preferring to look at the big picture that was the trip as opposed to the finale that was small in terms of highlights.

"We played great," shortstop Bobby Crosby said as he dressed for the charter flight home. "We played three really good teams [Toronto, Cleveland and Chicago] and came out 6-2. That's pretty quality."

Added Geren: "It was a good trip."

For Eveland, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks in December and sailed through Spring Training and his first two starts of the regular season, Tuesday represented his first struggles in green and gold. He gave up four runs (three earned) over 4 2/3 innings and allowed five hits, walked three, hit two batters and threw a wild pitch.

The three earned runs came in the fourth, on a long home run to left by another former Diamondbacks farmhand, Carlos Quentin. Prior to leaving a sinker over the plate to Quentin, Eveland had hit Paul Konerko with a pitch and walked Joe Crede with nobody out.

"I was with 'Q' last year, at [Triple-A] Tucson and in the Majors," Eveland said. "I was trying to throw something down, hoping he'd roll over it and hit into a double play.

"He didn't."

Quentin was looking for something to hit to the opposite field. What he got was yanked into the bleachers, hit so hard that A's left fielder Emil Brown didn't even bother with a courtesy drop-step.

"Dana, he has good stuff," Quentin said. "When he's down in the zone, he can be effective. [The home-run pitch] wasn't up, just over the plate a little bit. It was down, but sometimes I like the ball down. I'm not going to say it was a horrible pitch."

Eveland was tougher on himself while explaining that he struggled with the wind inside the stadium. That caused him some grip problems, which led to mechanical issues, which led to his sloppy fourth inning.

"It wasn't my best day," he conceded with a shrug. "It wasn't my favorite conditions to pitch in, but you can't point the finger at Mother Nature. You've got to deal with it, and I didn't do a very good job today."

The unearned run came in the fifth, when third baseman Donnie Murphy made a throwing error and Crosby dropped a popup. The A's made at least one error in every game of the trip, and the White Sox made them pay for Tuesday's with Crede's RBI single in the fifth to make it 4-0.

"That's one thing about this ballclub right now," White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen said of his ballclub. "They don't give up any at-bats. They fight for every at-bat they have and take advantage of getting on base ... and then the big hit is coming up."

The big hit never really came for the A's. They were held to five singles and two walks by lefty John Danks, who worked 7 2/3 innings efficient innings to pick up his first win of the year.

"Their guy was just hitting his spot," Geren said. "He had a nice little tail on one side of the plate, cutter on the other."

Danks also got plenty of help. In the sixth inning alone, the White Six turned in three excellent defensive plays.

Third baseman Crede made a diving stop to rob Mark Ellis of a leadoff double, shortstop Orlando Cabrera made a nifty backhand pickup and a perfect throw to nail Daric Barton at first, and first baseman Nick Swisher made a tough play.

The White Sox made it four in a row when Quentin made a leaping catch at the wall in left to rob Brown of extra bases to open the seventh. Brown's sacrifice fly in the ninth was all that kept the A's from being sent home scoreless.

"[Danks] pitched well and they played great 'D' behind him," Crosby said. "Guys were hitting the ball hard ... [but] you can't aim the thing."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.