The last game of the series against the A’s went much like the first — extra innings after a late collapse, and eventually a loss. The Sox went into the ninth inning with a healthy 4-1 lead, but still managed to drop the game 7-4 in large part thanks to their hapless bullpen.
The lead was built by clutch hitting on the part of the Sox by Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios, and clutch base running by Carlos Quentin. John Danks pitched well for most of this game — holding the A’s to just one run over eight innings. But, then the ninth inning happened.
Guillen chose to start the ninth with Chris Sale, rather than Matt Thornton, even though Sale had also thrown on Tuesday night. Sale then allowed a double and two singles, one for an RBI, without earning an out. He was pulled for Jesse Crain, who walked Daric Barton, before getting a K on Kurt Suzuki.
With one out and the bases loaded, Matt Thornton came into the game. He got the second out of the inning on a strikeout of Ryan Sweeney. But a perfectly placed Cliff Pennington single scored two runners and tied the game. The Sox bats were impotent in the bottom of the inning, sending the game to extras. When Thornton came back on for the top of the tenth, he gave up two walks and two run scoring singles to put the game away and send Oakland home with a series victory. At this point, it’s unclear who Ozzie will turn to for late inning duties, since no member of the bullpen currently seems able to close out a game.