"We just wanted to get him deep into counts. If we work him, hopefully we could get him to leave one over the plate," Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby said Friday night when his two run-scoring doubles helped the Athletics to a 4-2 victory over the White Sox.
With their offensive strategy working, the A's also got a solid effort from starter Kirk Saarloos and some strong work from relievers Justin Duchscherer and Huston Street to get their 11th win in 14 games.
"You know facing a pitcher of Garland's caliber, you're not going to get a lot of runs," said Saarloos, who lost to Garland six days ago in Oakland.
Saarloos (5-5), who has won four of his last five decisions, allowed seven hits and two runs in six-plus innings.
"I'm going to have the hitters put the ball in play and the defense does a great job behind me," he said.
Right fielder Nick Swisher threw out Chicago's Timo Perez trying to stretch a single into a double in the sixth, while Crosby made a nice play from the hole to get Paul Konerko and end a Chicago rally in the seventh.
Duchscherer allowed one hit in two innings and Street finished up in the ninth, striking out pinch-hitter Frank Thomas for the final out, to get his fifth save in eight chances.
Bidding to become the major league's first 14-game winner, Garland (13-4) left after five innings -- his shortest outing of the season.
He gave up eight hits and three runs while throwing 112 pitches.
"They fouled off a lot of pitches, made me throw a lot. They had a game plan and stuck to it," Garland said.
"I put the team in a hole early and they made me work for my outs. The ball rolled their way tonight. ... I didn't do my job. I wanted to go at least seven or eight."
Asked if he thought he might start the All-Star game on Tuesday, Garland said, "I'm not even worried about that. That's a few days away and I'm still thinking about this game."
Garland surrendered three straight hits in the third as Swisher doubled, Marco Scutaro singled and Jason Kendall delivered an RBI single. After Mark Kotsay flied out for the second out, Crosby followed with an RBI double for a 2-0 lead. Eric Chavez walked to load the bases before Garland escaped by getting Scott Hatteberg on a fly to left.
"We worked Garland real hard. He had over 100 pitches in five innings," Oakland manager Ken Macha said.
"We knew coming in that he would be tough on us. You know there's going to be a limited number of runs."
The White Sox got a run on one hit in the fourth when Jermaine Dye was hit by a pitch, Perez singled and after a forceout, Dye scored on Juan Uribe's fielder's choice grounder to first. Oakland first baseman Dan Johnson fielded the ball, stepped on the bag and then threw to the plate but Dye beat the throw with a nifty slide.
Crosby hit his second RBI double in the fifth following a double by Scutaro and Kotsay's infield single to make it 3-1.
"I'm feeling good," said Crosby, who's batting .404 and has 12 RBI in his last 11 games. "I'm trying to put the ball in play and go the opposite way."
Saarloos left after Uribe's leadoff single in the seventh. After a sacrifice, Chicago cut the lead to 3-2 on Carl Everett's RBI single off Duchscherer. Crosby then went into the hole at shortstop for the slow-running Konerko's grounder and made a strong throw to end the rally.
"We were shifting him that way in the hole and I luckily came up with the ball and threw it as hard as I could," Crosby said.
Swisher hit an RBI double off Cliff Politte in the eighth to extend Oakland's lead back to two runs.
- Garland beat Saarloos and the A's on July 2 in Oakland, allowing five hits and three runs in seven innings of a 5-3 victory. In that game, Saarloos also went seven innings, giving up seven hits and four runs.
- The A's are 5-2 against the White Sox and have clinched the season series for a fifth straight year. Oakland is 32-11 versus the White Sox since 2001.
- Chicago's Scott Podsednik, the last AL player chosen to the All-Star team in voting over the Internet, had two singles and a walk and stole two more bases, giving him 43 for the season.