OAKLAND, Calif. – Barry Zito pitched eight solid innings, and the Oakland Athletics scored four times in a sloppy sixth inning to send Mark Buehrle to his first loss in nearly three months with a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Jason Kendall drove in the go-ahead run with a single for the A’s, who won for the ninth time in 10 games. Mark Kotsay’s RBI double capped a sixth-inning rally that included three unearned runs, thanks to Buehrle’s first error of the season.

Buehrle (10-2) hadn’t lost in 15 starts since April 10, but Chicago’s star left-hander never got comfortable in the Coliseum, where he’s winless in 10 career appearances. He allowed a season-high 14 hits, including one in each of his 6 1-3 innings, and the A’s finally broke through in the sixth to snap his career-best nine-game winning streak.

Zito (5-8) gave up early solo homers to Frank Thomas and Jermaine Dye, but mostly stayed in control during his third win in five starts. With his curveball dipping, Zito allowed six hits and finished by escaping an eighth-inning jam.

Kotsay got four hits, Eric Chavez had three and Eric Byrnes reached base four times for the A’s, who won for the 13th time in 15 games. The AL-leading White Sox lost for the 20th time in their last 24 games in Oakland.

Trailing 2-0, the A’s scored their first two runs in the sixth without hitting a ball out of the infield. Buehrle’s poor throw to second base led to the first run, and Oakland tied it when Buehrle couldn’t handle Keith Ginter’s hard shot back to the mound.

Kendall followed with a two-out single to right, and Kotsay added a run-scoring double down the right-field line.

Nick Swisher hit an RBI single in the seventh before Buehrle left, and Mark Ellis drove in two more runs with a single off Luis Vizcaino.

After Oakland won the series opener Friday night, the White Sox snapped the A’s eight-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory Saturday. But the A’s won their seventh straight series, while the White Sox lost just their sixth series of the season.

Thomas hit his ninth homer in the fourth, driving Zito’s pitch into the second deck of seats down the left-field line. Incredibly, nine of Thomas’ 14 hits in his injury-plagued season have been homers.

Dye added a leadoff homer in the fifth, his 17th.

Chavez and Bobby Kielty opened the sixth with infield singles. Buehrle then grabbed Byrnes’ hard bouncer back to the mound, but threw it over Pablo Ozuna’s head at second base for an error, allowing Chavez to score. One out later, Kielty scored when Buehrle couldn’t corral Ginter’s shot.

Notes: Zito threw a season-high 124 pitches. … Kielty’s sixth-inning single hit second base umpire Paul Emmel squarely in the shin, despite Emmel’s best efforts to get out of the way. … Thomas’ homer was his 445th. He’s 29th on the career list, just behind Jeff Bagwell.

AP-ES-07-03-05 1842EDT


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