Rollins homers in 9th to lift White Sox past Athletics 5-4
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Having grown up in the Bay Area, Chicago White Sox shortstop Jimmy Rollins knew his ball might get caught up in the cool night air at the Oakland Coliseum, so he hustled around the bases as quickly as possible.
He could have slowed to a trot rounding first.
Rollins hit a tiebreaking homer off closer Sean Doolittle with two outs in the ninth inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Signed to a minor league deal by the White Sox in February, Rollins connected on a 2-2 pitch from Doolittle (0-1) after Chicago's bullpen blew a two-run lead in the eighth.
''I hit it good but with this thick air you just never know what's going to happen,'' Rollins said. ''I got a good amount of backspin on it and it stayed up just long enough.''
Todd Frazier also homered for Chicago, a three-run shot in the fifth. Austin Jackson added an RBI infield single and Adam Eaton had three hits.
Rollins' first home run of the season came three innings after he grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. It also bailed out Chicago's bullpen after starter Jose Quintana left with a two-run lead.
''I don't know if that's the way you draw it up, but it's a nice team win,'' White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ''We're going to hit some homers - Jimmy with the big one.''
Doolittle, who missed 121 games a year ago with shoulder and rotator cuff issues, took the loss. It was Oakland's second straight one-run defeat after leading the majors in that category last year.
''It's tough to come back in here after a one-run loss at home after trying to come back from a one-run loss,'' Doolittle said. ''I'm disgusted with myself.''
Nate Jones (1-0) pitched one inning for the win and David Robertson worked a scoreless ninth for his second save.
Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie drove in two runs apiece for the A's. Oakland has lost 13 of its last 18 against Chicago.
53 AND COUNTING
Quintana allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts but was saddled with the 53rd no-decision of his career - most in the majors since 2012. Oakland rallied for two runs in the eighth off Zach Duke and Jones.
''The most important thing here is taking the W,'' Quintana said. ''That's part of the game. It happens sometimes. We won the game, that's most important.''
FLU BUGS A'S
The flu is apparently working its way through the Athletics' clubhouse. Oakland ace Sonny Gray was scratched from his opening day start Monday and sent to the hospital with possible food poisoning, though he now says it might have been a 24-hour flu bug. Fellow starting pitcher Kendall Graveman was also not feeling well and spent the day trying to recover, though he is expected to make his scheduled start on Thursday.
''I've had this Purell hand dispenser in here for years and now everybody doesn't think I'm so crazy,'' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ''We had (head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta) address the team and go over what we can try to do to combat that. We're going to do the best we can.''
Ventura said his ballclub dealt with a similar issue in spring training.
White Sox: Chicago has won six straight at the Coliseum. ... Ventura needs one win to reach 300 for his career. ... Jose Abreu struck out three consecutive times after singling in his first at-bat.
Athletics: Starting pitcher Chris Bassitt was drafted by the White Sox in 2011. He gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings. ... Liam Hendriks retired all eight batters he faced.
White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon, who went 9-6 last season, faces Oakland on Wednesday. The 23-year-old Rodon finished fifth among rookies a year ago with 139 strikeouts.
Athletics: Gray makes his delayed season debut against Chicago. Gray has never defeated the White Sox and has an 8.10 ERA in two starts against them.