Owners of the most victories among American League clubs, the Oakland Athletics also find themselves in first place in the AL West as they contend against the Chicago White Sox in the third game of a four-game set at U.S. Cellular Field.
Sporting a 20-15 mark on the road, also the top mark in the league, the A's were carried by Josh Donaldson on Friday as he clubbed a grand slam in the top of the sixth inning en route to a 4-3 triumph. The home run for Donaldson, now hitting .329 on the season, was his ninth of the campaign and provided starter Jarrod Parker with just enough of a margin to capture his fifth win of 2013.
Parker lasted seven full innings, permitting three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and a pair of walks as he struck out four. Grant Balfour pitched a perfect ninth to grab his 15th save of the season, his 33rd consecutive save dating back to last year, as the squad won for the 18th time in the last 21 outings.
"For us just to hang around tonight was huge," Parker said. "Donaldson came up with a huge hit. All around, we're just staying with it and not checking out early or settling with what we have. We just keep going at it."
Chris Sale tried to keep Chicago in the mix, giving up those four runs on five hits and a couple of walks, striking out six in 7 1/3 innings, but still the Sox suffered their 10th setback in the last 11 games and are now eight games off the pace in the AL Central where they are all alone in last place.
"We are not playing like we want to play or should play, pitching, defense, hitting, all that stuff. But we're just running into some tough breaks, running into some bad luck," Sale noted.
Of the five hits logged by Chicago, a team batting just .213 over its last 11 games, three came from Tyler Flowers, who hit a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios both added singles and scored.
Seeking his fourth straight win in as many decisions, Tommy Milone is set to take the hill for the A's this time around. The USC product, who has a career mark of 1-0 after facing the Sox only once previously, is coming off a solid performance versus Milwaukee on the road Monday.
Against the Brewers, the left-hander made it through seven innings, giving up just two runs on five hits and fanning four in a 10-2 victory.
As for the Sox, they have Texas native John Danks ready to take the ball Saturday. The left-hander, who came off the disabled list only a few weeks ago, is still awaiting his first victory of the campaign.
Danks last pitched on Monday when he permitted four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and a walk over six innings versus Seattle. He struck out five as he suffered his second consecutive loss.
For his career, the ninth overall pick in the 2003 draft has a record of 5-1 with a 2.26 ERA in eight lifetime appearances against Oakland.
Oakland has won all five meetings with the White Sox this season, claiming eight of the last 10 matchups dating back to 2012 as well.