CHICAGO (AP) – Barry Zito pitched two-hit ball for seven innings and Mark Kotsay hit a three-run homer, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 10-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.

After signing a three-year contract extension with the Athletics before the game, Kotsay hit a three-run homer in the seventh.

Leading 2-1, Nick Swisher led off the seventh for Oakland by reaching on third baseman Pablo Ozuna’s second error of the game. Two outs later, Jason Kendall singled up the middle. Then Kotsay followed with his seventh homer of the season, giving the Athletics a 5-1 lead.

Eric Chavez added a two-run homer in the ninth for the Athletics, who have won 12 of 15 and improved to 6-2 against the majors’ winningest team.

The game featured a matchup of two of the best left-handers in the league. Zito outpitched White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (10-3) for the second time this week.

Despite being pushed back a day after complaining of pain in his ribcage after throwing a season-high 124 pitches Sunday, Zito (6-8) looked strong. His curveball was effective and he didn’t give up his second hit of the game until a leadoff single to Scott Podsednik in the sixth inning. Zito allowed a double to Tadahito Iguchi in the first inning.

Zito allowed just one run and improved to 7-2 against the White Sox in his career. He struck out six and walked three.

Buehrle had his nine-game winning streak snapped last Sunday in a 7-2 loss at Oakland after giving up seven runs and a career-high 14 hits over 6 1-3 innings.

His struggles continued against the Athletics on Saturday. Buehrle allowed five runs – two earned – on six hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked two. Buehrle is 2-8 against the Athletics in his career and two of his three losses this season have came against Oakland.

Iguchi followed Podsednik with a walk in the sixth and they moved up on a double steal. Frank Thomas drove in Podsednik on a sacrifice fly. Zito held Iguchi at third by getting Paul Konerko to pop out and he struck out Aaron Rowand on a high fastball ending the inning.

Bobby Kielty and Eric Byrnes hit back-to-back doubles off Buehrle in the second inning. Kielty scored on Byrnes’ double. Then, Ozuna couldn’t handle Keith Ginter’s grounder at third and Byrnes scored from third giving the Athletics a 2-0 lead.

Oakland padded their lead in the eighth when White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks walked Scott Hatteberg with the bases loaded to score Kielty. Ellis had an RBI fielder’s choice and Kendall had a run-scoring grounder to make it 8-1.

Buehrle retired 11 straight before giving up a leadoff single to Kotsay in the sixth inning.

Notes: Kotsay’s deal supercedes the final year of his current contract, a five-year deal through the 2006 season. He was 2-for-5 with three RBI. … The White Sox had their seventh sellout of the season. … Kendall was 3-for-5 for Oakland.

AP-ES-07-09-05 2153EDT


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