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White Sox Take It To The Left Coast

(Sports Network) - The Chicago White Sox have only themselves to blame for their current position in the American League playoff race. A six-game losing streak is keeping them from staying in contention, as the White Sox begin a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics Monday from the Coliseum.

The White Sox are 10 games behind Minnesota for the AL Central lead and 10 1/2 games off the top spot in the wild card chase with 13 games left. They were just swept in three games versus Detroit over the weekend and dropped a 9-7 decision in 11 innings on Sunday afternoon. Gerald Laird hit an RBI single and Austin Jackson doubled home a run off losing pitcher Sergio Santos in the top of the 11th, spoiling an exciting four-run bottom of the ninth inning.

Brent Morel and Juan Pierre each stroked RBI singles to highlight the frame, while A.J. Pierzynski ended with three hits and two RBI for the White Sox, who went 2-7 on the nine-game residency and suffered their second straight sweep. The Twins won all three meetings early last week.

"Very, very disappointing," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said on the team's site. "We played very hard, yes we did. We give everything we have out there. In the meanwhile, at the end of the game, it's not how hard you play, it's how many you win."

Starter John Danks didn't put his team in position to win after he allowed seven runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He luckily came away with a no- decision.

Gavin Floyd will begin a six-game trek on the hill for the Pale Hose tonight and he's dropped back-to-back and three of four starts. Floyd was pounded by Minnesota in last Wednesday's 9-3 loss in the Windy City and yielded six runs on nine hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. The loss dropped him to 10-13 with a 4.08 ERA in 30 starts this season.

Floyd, a right-hander, defeated the A's on August 1 this season and is 3-0 with a 1.32 earned run average in five career starts against them.

Oakland won two of three matchups in Minnesota this weekend and is 6-4 in the past 10 games. In Sunday's 6-2 win over the Twins at Target Field, Akinori Iwamura set the tone with a two-run single during a three-run first inning and Mark Ellis cracked a two-run homer in the fifth. Ellis ended with three hits and a pair of runs scored for the A's, whose nine-game deficit to Texas in the AL West may be too much to overcome.

Athletics starter Bobby Cramer, making his second career start, allowed two runs on five hits and issued three walks in 5 2/3 innings for the win. Cramer won his major league debut Monday in Kansas City after he allowed a run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"I didn't really have nerves the first time, but a couple of times during the game I had a chance to sit back and think about what was going on," Cramer said on the club's website. "It was a little overwhelming, but this time the guys went out and put up three in the first and it really helped me relax and settle down, especially against an offense like that."

Brad Ziegler, Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow combined to throw 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to keep Cramer unbeaten.

Oakland starts a seven-game homestand tonight versus the White Sox and Rangers, and will send Gio Gonzalez to the mound Monday. Gonzalez looks to get back into the win column after he had a four-start unbeaten streak come to an end last Tuesday in an 11-3 loss at Kansas City. His start was short-lived after allowing seven runs on seven hits and three walks in only two innings.

Gonzalez, a left-hander, has pitched well at home this season as evidenced by his 8-3 mark in 14 starts at the Coliseum. He is 14-9 in 30 starts overall and aims for his first career win over the White Sox, who beat Gonzalez back on August 1. Gonzalez is 0-3 with an 8.82 ERA in three starts against Chicago.

The 2010 series between the White Sox and A's is tied at three games apiece.