OAKLAND, Calif. — Coco Crisp was caught trying to score the tying run on a straight steal of home in the eighth inning, and the Chicago White Sox held off the Oakland Athletics 4-3 Friday night.
Omar Vizquel had an RBI double during a four-run second inning and Phil Humber pitched well into the seventh. Paul Konerko added two hits for Chicago, which improved to 5-2 on its current road trip.
Still, the White Sox are nine games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
Chicago managed only five hits and did all its scoring in one inning but made several stellar defensive plays to win for the fifth time in six games.
The biggest play came in the eighth when Crisp was cut down trying a rare straight steal of home.
Crisp led off the inning with a single, stole second and went to third on Daric Barton’s groundout. The speedy outfielder then broke for home while left-handed reliever Matt Thornton was in his windup. White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski caught the inside pitch and reached out to tag Crisp as he slid in front of home plate.
Humber (3-3) gave up three runs and six hits in six-plus innings, the fourth straight solid outing by the right-hander. He didn’t walk a batter for the first time in seven starts this season.
Sergio Santos worked the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.
David DeJesus had two hits for the A’s and needs one more to reach 1,000 for his career.
Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy had control problems in the second inning when the White Sox scored four times. He gave up a leadoff single to Konerko, then issued back-to-back walks to load the bases. Alex Rios’ grounder scored one run and Vizquel followed with an RBI double.
Gordon Beckham’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0, and after Juan Pierre reached on an infield single, McCarthy threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt. The ball rolled into Chicago’s bullpen as Vizquel raced in from third.
McCarthy (1-4) settled down and allowed only two hits over the next five innings but remains winless over his last six starts. The right-hander had six strikeouts and two walks.
Humber, claimed off waivers from Oakland in January, had his bad inning in the seventh when the A’s chased him with four consecutive singles.
Humber’s wild pitch with the bases loaded scored Ryan Sweeney from third, and DeJesus’ second hit of the night, a soft single to right, drove in Hideki Matsui. Jesse Crain struck out Mark Ellis, then gave up a sacrifice fly to Kevin Kouzmanoff that cut the White Sox lead to 4-3.
Crain avoided further damage by picking off DeJesus at first.