Shintaro Fujinami Worked around Striking Out Two in the Top of the 10th, A’s 7-6 Win over White Sox

AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron
Oakland Athletics pitcher Shintaro Fujinami delivers against the Chicago White Sox during the 10th inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Oakland, Calif.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Tyler Wade slid into home with the winning run after second baseman Elvis Andrus misplayed a 10th-inning grounder, giving the Oakland Athletics a 7-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

Oakland overcame 3-1 and 6-4 deficits to win consecutive games for the first time since a seven-game winning streak from June 6-13. The A’s, a major league-worst 23-62, won for the fourth time in 16 games and are on pace to finish 44-118.

They drew a crowd of just 9,235, their 25th under 10,000 in 43 home games.

“We talk a lot about the character and identity of the team. They showed themselves today, coming back against a really good bullpen,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “You can’t say enough about the effort. They come to compete, the come to win every day. Those are good signs.”

Chicago rallied from a 4-3 deficit in the eighth on Yasmani Grandal’s RBI single off Lucas Erceg, Carlos Perez’s run-scoring double and Andrew Benintendi’s bases-loaded walk from Sam Long that followed an intentional walk to Zach Remillard.

Oakland tied the score 6-6 in the bottom half when Joe Kelly balked in a run and Tony Kemp hit a tying single.

With Wade on second base as the automatic runner, former A’s pitcher Kendall Graveman (3-4) got the first two outs of the 10th. JJ Bleday hit a routine grounder to Andrus. The ball bounced off the second baseman’s glove, and he retrieved the ball and threw too late to first as Bleday slid across the base. Wade kept on running and slid across the plate to beat the throw from first baseman Gavin Sheets.

“I kind of peeked over my shoulder, saw him bobble it so I was like, ‘I’m going regardless,'” Wade said. “Off the bat with two outs you’re going no matter what.”

Bleday had never slid headfirst in a major league game before but felt he needed to against the White Sox to keep the inning going.

“When I went in headfirst I knew I had a good chance of being safe,” Bleday said. “Once I got up and looked, I’m like, ‘Oh he’s through and slid under the tag.’ To be able to win a series against this team, that’s huge. We know we can win.”

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol thought Sheets, who entered as a pinch hitter in the ninth, was late to react.

“I thought he did a good job of getting down on the ball and just got it off his glove and then threw the ball first base,” Grifol said of Andrus. “It seemed like to me like Sheets reacted late on that on the on the throw to home.”

Shintaro Fujinami (4-7) worked around a hit batter in the top of the 10th, striking out two.

Seth Brown homered for the A’s and Bleday had two RBIs.

Eloy Jiménez hit his 11th home run and drove in two runs for Chicago. Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal added two hits each but Anderson had a grand slam erased by video review in the eighth inning. He hit a drive down the left field line that third base umpire Tripp Gibson signaled fair but was changed to foul by the replay umpire. Anderson flied out on the next pitch.

Brown’s seventh-inning homer off Keynan Middleton gave Oakland a 4-3 lead. But it wasn’t held by a bullpen that has a major league-worst 5.75 ERA.

White Sox starter Dylan Cease allowed three runs, six hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings in his seventh straight no-decision.

Kyle Muller, Oakland’s opening day starter, was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to make his first big league start since May 22 and gave up three runs, six hits and four walks in five innings. A’s starting pitchers have two wins in the team’s last 16 games.