|Oakland (46-39) «||0||0||0||2||1||0||0||0||0||3||4||0|
|Chi. White Sox (49-36)||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||7||0|
Oakland's closer was overmatched. Duchscherer's opponents know the feeling.
"For three years, Duchsherer preached down in the bullpen, 'I am a much better starter than a reliever. I'm a much better starter than a reliever,"' Street said after Duchsherer led the Athletics to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. "(It was) to the point where it was ad nauseam, where you just wanted to tell him, 'Duke. You're not starting."'
Well, he is starting -- and proving his point.
Javier Vazquez took the loss despite pitching his first complete game in nearly a year and retiring the first 11 batters. Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first on a leadoff homer by DeWayne Wise and an RBI double by Jermaine Dye, before Duchscherer settled down.
Oakland, which had lost four of five, broke through in the fourth when Cust tied it with a two-run homer, and Murphy made it 3-2 with a solo drive in the fifth.
That was enough for Duchscherer (9-5), the major-league leader with a 1.96 ERA.
"I know I can go out there any given day and they can kick my butt," he said.
It just isn't happening, though.
The right-hander held the AL Central leaders to five hits while striking out four and walking two. He has held opponents to two runs or less in all but two of his 14 starts and is 5-1 in his last six outings.
"We thought we had a good approach off of him," Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski said. "We hit some balls hard, got some deep counts, had some chances but just didn't cash them in."
Pierzynski doubled off Alan Embree with one out in the eighth, but Street came in and struck out Carlos Quentin and retired Dye on a grounder to end the threat. Chicago did get a single from Joe Crede with one out in the ninth, but Street struck out Nick Swisher and Alexei Ramirez to end the game for his 16th save in 19 chances.
"He hadn't pitched in four or five days," manager Bob Geren said. "The tying run was on second and if they go ahead in that inning, he's not going to pitch at all. So I'm going to pitch him right there and try to save the inning."
Vazquez (7-7) was a tough-luck loser on a night when he tied a season-high with 10 strikeouts and pitched his first complete game since last July 8 against Minnesota. He struck out the first four batters and seven of the first nine, walked one and allowed just four hits after seeing his ERA jump from 3.43 to 4.49 over his previous five starts.
He ran into trouble in the fourth when he hit Kurt Suzuki with two out, and Cust drove his 14th homer over the right-field wall to tie it at 2. Murphy connected with two out in the fifth, sending his third homer out to left-center.
"I felt good all game," Vazquez said. "I'm not going to strike out 24 guys like the way I started. That's the way it goes, but I felt good all game."
Duchscherer, meanwhile, continued to strengthen his case for a spot on the All-Star team after making it as a reliever in 2005.
"We've got a lot of qualified guys, and if I'm the one who's chosen, it would be great," he said. "To me, it's just gratifying to know that I'd wanted to start for awhile and I heard some people say, 'Can he get through a lineup three, four times?"'
|Huston Street finishes off the White Sox -- and their seven-game win streak -- to earn his 16th save. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Mark Ellis, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.255|
|Ryan Sweeney, RF-LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.290|
|Kurt Suzuki, C||3||1||0||0||0||1||0||.281|
|Jack Cust, LF||3||1||1||2||0||1||0||.232|
|Rajai Davis, CF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.212|
|Carlos Gonzalez, CF-RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.267|
|Wes Bankston, DH||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.125|
|Jack Hannahan, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.216|
|Daric Barton, 1B||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.224|
|Donnie Murphy, SS||3||1||1||1||0||1||2||.188|
|HR - Jack Cust (14, Vazquez), Donnie Murphy (3, Vazquez)|
|RBI - Jack Cust 2 (41), Donnie Murphy (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jack Cust 2 (14), Donnie Murphy (4)|
|SB - Carlos Gonzalez (3, 2nd base off Vazquez/Pierzynski)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Barton|
|Justin Duchscherer (W,9-5)||7||5||2||2||2||4||1||1.96|
|Alan Embree (H,15)||0.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||4.54|
|Huston Street (S,16)||1.2||1||0||0||0||3||0||3.89|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Duchscherer 98-62, Alan Embree 4-3, Huston Street 30-20|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Duchscherer 5-11, Alan Embree 1-0, Huston Street 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Justin Duchscherer 27, Alan Embree 2, Huston Street 6|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Dewayne Wise, CF||3||1||1||1||0||1||0||.314|
|a- Orlando Cabrera, PH-SS||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.269|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.303|
|Carlos Quentin, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.276|
|Jermaine Dye, RF||3||0||2||1||1||0||1||.305|
|Jim Thome, DH||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.229|
|Joe Crede, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||4||.268|
|Pablo Ozuna, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.281|
|Nick Swisher, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||3||3||.237|
|Alexei Ramirez, 2B-CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.288|
|Juan Uribe, SS-2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.210|
|a-grounded out for Wise in the 8th|
|2B - A.J. Pierzynski 2 (20, Duchscherer, Embree), Jermaine Dye (19, Duchscherer)|
|HR - Dewayne Wise (2, Duchscherer)|
|RBI - Dewayne Wise (4), Jermaine Dye (52)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Javier Vazquez (L,7-7)||9||4||3||3||1||10||2||4.37|
|HBP - Suzuki (by Javier Vazquez)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 121-83|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 7-10|
|Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 33|
|Attendance - 26730|
|Game Time - 2:21|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Chuck Meriwether, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Tim Welke|