Mat Latos, Chicago White Sox shut down Oakland Athletics to take series

By Rick Eymer, The Sports Xchange  |  April 8, 2016 at 12:59 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Mat Latos thinks he rediscovered himself, and that could be good news moving forward.

Jose Abreu hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, and Latos gave up one hit in six scoreless innings to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 6-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon.

Chicago took three of four games in the season-opening series.

Latos, who walked one and struck out two, won for the first time since July 21 with the Miami Marlins. He has yet to allow an earned run in 15 career innings against the A's.

"I want to get back to my old self," said Latos (1-0). "Last year I had some bad karma from past stuff that was said, and I took it. Then just getting kind of mentally messed up and battling through something I wasn't used to with the knee."

Latos, who mimed turning the pages of a book to answer one question, hopes that is all in the past.

"I wouldn't say I have 100 percent of my legs under me, but I'm healthy, I'm strong," he said. "I think it showed today. It's great to turn the page from last year and start off really well."

Latos won in April for the first time since 2013, when he was a member of the San Diego Padres. He is 5-10 all-time in the month.

"I started to get a little concerned endurance-wise because even in spring training he didn't make it quite as far as he would like," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "(On Thursday), he was spinning it pretty good. He was able to control the inside of the plate. His competitiveness came out of him."

A's catcher Stephen Vogt said of Latos, "He never left anything over the middle of the plate. He wasn't giving us the same look."

Kendall Graveman (0-1) took the loss despite a solid effort. He gave up two runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.

"I felt all right, and I got through it," Graveman said. "There are times you aren't going to be 100 percent, like late in the year, and you have to find a way to go out and compete."

The White Sox won their second consecutive series at Oakland Coliseum, the first time that has happened since 2008-09. It also was Ventura's 300th career victory as a manager.

Chicago's Adam Eaton went 2-for-5 to reach base safely in a 26th consecutive game dating to Sept. 9. He also extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Melky Cabrera and Tyler Saladino added two hits apiece for the White Sox, and Abreu knocked in three runs.

Chris Coughlan had two hits and drove in a run for the A's.

Graveman lost 12 pounds earlier this week due to a nasty bout of stomach flu. He still wasn't feeling his best before the game, but he was able to keep the White Sox off the board through five innings despite two Oakland errors.

The White Sox had a runner at second in three of the first four innings, but Graveman induced three ground balls and a strikeout with runners in scoring position.

In the sixth, Cabrera drew a leadoff walk, and Abreu followed with a two-run blast to right.

The White Sox broke it open with a four-run ninth. Dioner Navarro, Saladino, Cabrera and Abreu each drove in a run.

The A's threatened against Zach Duke in the seventh. Danny Valencia walked, went to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Vogt's single.

Matt Albers came on with one out and retired pinch hitters Mark Canha and Andrew Lambo to end the threat. Albers extended his scoreless streak in Oakland to 14 1/3 innings.

The Athletics broke up the White Sox's shutout bid in the ninth when Coghlan's single knocked in Valencia.

NOTES: Jed Lowrie started as the Athletics' designated hitter to give him a partial day off, but he later entered the game at shortstop. ... LHP Sean Doolittle remains Oakland's closer despite RHP Ryan Madson earning the save Wednesday night. ... A's LHP Felix Doubront is getting a second opinion on his sprained left elbow, putting future plans on hold for the time being. ... CF Austin Jackson was given the start off as the White Sox plan for an April with one off day. He entered as a pinch runner and scored, then stayed in the game. ... Chicago SS Jimmy Rollins also got the day off. ... Avisail Garcia played right field for the White Sox after being the DH the first three games.

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