OAKLAND, Calif. — After completing a 6-3 West Coast trip Sunday with a harrowing 4-3 win over the Athletics, manager Ozzie Guillen made a request for the White Sox.
"Go home and play better for our fans," he said. "They deserve that. We owe them one after the last (home) series, the last homestand we had. Hopefully we continue to play the way we're playing now."
The Sox clinched their third consecutive series win with a 10-hit attack against All-Star Trevor Cahill, whom Guillen called a Cy Young Award candidate.
They were only 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, and Juan Pierre was picked off first base and grounded into two double plays. But the Sox are gradually finding ways to overcome the mishaps that cost them dearly in the four weeks prior to their successful trip.
"It's a start," said Sergio Santos, who retired Josh Willingham on a force play with the tying and winning runs on base to notch his fifth save in as many chances. "We knew it wasn't going to happen overnight. We knew we wouldn't win 24 games in a row. It starts with series. We're looking to win series, and the rest will take care of itself."
The Sox also are capitalizing on opponents' mistakes. Cahill committed a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt, leading to two runs in the seventh that made the difference in the outcome. It compensated for the missed scoring chances against Cahill in four of the first five innings.
"To come in here and take two of three is kind of a miracle," winning pitcher Mark Buehrle (3-3) said after the Sox improved to 8-6 in their last 14 games in Oakland after going 6-28 before that. "It was a good road trip all the way around."
Alexei Ramirez finished strong with a three-hit game that included a home run and an RBI single that capped the Sox's two-run seventh. Ramirez batted .324 on the trip with two home runs.
"It's good to get a win and go back home with a good feeling," he said.
Despite collecting only four hits in his last 29 at-bats and watching his batting average dip from .266 to .242, Pierre still has the support of Guillen.
"One thing about Juan," Guillen said, "you're going to see the same (effort Monday night). He's going to go out and play the game right..
"He'll be there batting first again. I don't worry about him because he's a professional. He will battle. He'll find a way."
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