(Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics are still mathematically in contention for a division title and will shoot for a three-game sweep of the despondent Chicago White Sox this afternoon at the Coliseum.
With 12 games to play and a seven-game deficit behind the American League West-leading Texas Rangers, the Athletics look to remain perfect on their seven-game homestand and record a fourth straight win. They blanked Chicago, 3-0, in Monday's series opener and are coming off last night's 7-2 victory behind eight strong innings from Trevor Cahill.
Cahill is now 17-7 on the season and limited the White Sox to a pair of runs on six hits in eight innings. He also struck out seven batters for Oakland, which got two RBI from both Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington. Rajai Davis collected three hits, two runs scored and an RBI in a winning effort.
"It's always nice to score some runs for our pitchers and take a little of the pressure off them," Davis said. "(Cahill) attacked them and looked good out there."
The A's must not overlook Chicago today with an important four-game series versus the Rangers on the horizon. Brett Anderson tries to make sure that doesn't happen when he makes his 17th start of the season Wednesday. He has won three straight outings since going 0-4 in five trips to the hill, and defeated Minnesota on the road last Friday in a 3-1 decision.
Anderson was reached for just one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings to push his 2010 ledger to 6-6 with a 2.83 ERA. The lefty lost at Chicago on July 30 this season and allowed five runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings of his team's 6-1 setback. Anderson is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox.
Chicago was eliminated from postseason contention last night with the loss coupled with Minnesota's win over Cleveland. The Twins clinched the AL Central and were only 3 1/2 games ahead of Chicago for the division lead earlier this month.
The White Sox have lost eight in a row for the first time since the 2007 campaign and are only 2-12 in the past 14 contests. Starter Mark Buehrle gave up five runs on 11 hits and fanned five batters in six innings to absorb the loss.
"The last couple of weeks we haven't played well at all to be deserving (of a playoff spot)," Buehrle said.
Omar Vizquel, Mark Kotsay and Alexei Ramirez all finished with two hits for Chicago, which hasn't lost nine in a row since the 1991 campaign. Pale Hose manager Ozzie Guillen was the starting shortstop then.
Taking the mound for Guillen's club today will be Edwin Jackson, who is trying to avoid a third straight losing start. He was beaten by his former employer, the Detroit Tigers, in last Friday's 9-2 loss and permitted four runs in 6 1/3 innings. Jackson fell to 3-2 in eight starts with Chicago since coming over in a trade from Arizona.
Jackson, a right-hander, is 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA in three career starts against the Athletics.
Oakland leads the 2010 series with Chicago by a 5-3 count.