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A's Win, Wild Card Stays Tight

Have the Oakland Athletics found a closer?

Jason Isringhausen allowed a run on three straight singles in the ninth, but held on for his first American League save in Oakland's 9-6 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

Isringhausen, acquired July 31 in a trade that sent A's closer Billy Taylor to the New York Mets, had only one career save with the Mets. He's pitched 13 1-3 innings with a 1.35 for the A's, but didn't close a game until going the final 1 1-3 innings against the White Sox.

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  • "I finally got a chance to do it," Isringhausen said. "And I got through it. I don't know what their plan will be tomorrow, but I think I'm ready (to be a closer)."

    After pitching into trouble in the ninth, Isringhausen got Chris Singelton to hit into a double play and then retired Carlos Lee on a popup to end the game.

    "Izzy did the job. He made a great pitch for the double play," said Oakland manager Art Howe. "I've got confidence in him."

    The A's have been without a steady closer since Taylor went to New York. Doug Jones is only 7-for-13 in save opportunities and has blown four saves in his last 20 appearances.

    Omar Olivares won his career-high 12th game and Jason Giambi drove in three runs as the Athletics remained tied with Boston for the AL wild card. The Red Sox beat Anaheim 4-3.

    Olmaedo Saenz's two-run homer capped a four-run seventh inning for the A's.

    "We needed about everyhing tonight," Howe said. "We just have to take care of our own business. One of these days, somebody is going to beat the Red Sox."

    Giambi, who set his career-high with 110 RBIs last year, has 99 this season.

    Olivares (12-9), acquired July 29 from California, won his fourth straight decision with the A's. He pitched five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.

    "Omar wasn't sharp and his command wasn't there," Howe said. "I felt he was getting tired."

    A throwing error by White Sox third baseman Greg Norton gave the Athletics a 1-0 lead in the first. Norton's 23 errors lead the White Sox and his 21 errors at third base are tied for the league lead with Todd Zeile of the Texas Rangers.

    "Any time you keep giving the opponent opportunities, especially a club like this, and they cash in, it makes the game an uphill battle," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "We gave them too many runs and too many chances in the ballgame."

    Chicago came back in their half of the inning on Carlos Lee's 10th home run.

    Giambi hit an RBI single and John Jaha followed with a sacrifice fly in the second to give the A's a 4-1 lead.

    But the White Sox closed to 4-3 on Mike Caruso's RBI single in the third and Lee's RBI double in the fourth. Chicago loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, but Caruso grounded out to second to end the inning.

    With one out in the seventh, Randy Velarde singled and scored on Giambi's RBI double. Jaha then singled and Matt Stairs' sacrifice fly brought home Giambi to make it 6-3. Two batters later, Saenz's seventh homer made it 8-3.

    Mike Sirotka (8-11) lost for the first time in six starts, allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings.

    The White Sox closed to 8-5 on Magglio Ordonez's RBI single in the seventh and Chris Singleton's homer in the eighth, both off reliever T.J. Mathews.

    Oakland scored a run in the ninth when Miguel Tejada drew a bases-loaded walk from Jesus Pena.


  • The Athletics have won six straight against the White Sox.
  • Oakland is 19-8 since the July 29 acquisitions of Olivares and Randy Velarde.
  • Oakland is 16-28 in its last 44 road games, but has won 38 of its last 51 at home.
  • The A's used their 105th different lineup in 128 games.
  • Sirotka's win Aug. 16 against Anaheim is his only victory in his last 10 starts.

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