OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A little bit of advice from an Oakland All-Star was just what top prospect Franklin Barreto needed to break out of a slump in a big way.
Barreto took those words of wisdom from Yonder Alonso and delivered a game-ending homer and an RBI triple to help the Athletics snap a season-high six-game losing streak by beating the Chicago White Sox 7-6 on Tuesday.
“He said I was a little tardy and I felt it too,” Barreto said through an interpreter. “I felt the pitchers were getting ahead of me and I tried to get ahead of the ball.”
Barreto was in a 2-for-25 slump after striking out in his first at-bat. Alonso then pulled him aside in the dugout and Barreto responded with his triple in the fourth and then the homer in the ninth.
“He’s special, man. He took it over, made an adjustment and you saw the potential he has, the ability he has,” Alonso said. “I’m not taking any of the credit. We had a little talk, he went out and he did it. I’m just happy for him.”
Alonso also broke out of his own slump with a pair of homers and Matt Joyce connected for a two-run shot for the A’s, whose bats finally woke up.
Oakland had scored just 10 runs in the past five games and had dropped eight straight at the Coliseum, matching the franchise’s longest home skid in 35 years.
After Santiago Casilla (2-3) allowed a game-tying single by Melky Cabrera in the ninth for his fourth blown save in 18 chances, things looked bleak for the A’s until Barreto stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom half.
He fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches from Tommy Kahnle (0-3) before hitting a towering fly ball that just cleared the wall in left field and sent the A’s pouring out of the dugout for a sorely needed celebration.
“I thought I’d get him on the 2-2 changeup, he gave that check swing,” Kahnle said. “But next pitch I mean, it’s my bread and butter. He hit it. That was all I could do really.”
Cabrera hit a two-run homer off Oakland starter Daniel Gossett and Jose Abreu added a three-run shot for the White Sox.
Joyce erased an early deficit by matching Cabrera’s two-run homer in the bottom of the third and Alonso’s first homer since June 15 gave Oakland a 3-2 lead in the fourth against James Shields.
After Abreu put the White Sox back ahead 5-4 with his 16th homer in the fifth, Alonso answered with his 19th in the bottom half to make it 6-5, giving him three multihomer games this season and in his career.
White Sox: All-Star RF Avisail Garcia returned to the lineup after missing five games with a sore left knee and singled in his first at-bat for his only hit of the day. … RHP David Robertson’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, Violet, on Monday and he remains away from the team.
Athletics: 3B Ryon Healy (back) missed his second straight game.
The 21-year-old Barreto was the youngest A’s player to hit a game-ending homer since Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx did it at age 20 in 1928, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
SERVING UP LONG BALLS
Shields once again was plagued by the long ball. After leading the majors with 40 homers allowed last year and 33 in 2015, Shields has allowed 10 in seven starts this season.
“It was just again a few pitches that he left out over the plate that these guys were able to drive and when he wanted to try to keep the ball in the ballpark he wasn’t able to do that,” manager Rick Renteria said.
The White Sox look for their third straight series win at the Coliseum in the rubber game of the series. Chicago hasn’t won three straight series in Oakland since 1996-97. Mike Pelfrey (3-6) gets the start. He has lost all five career starts vs. Oakland with a 7.56 ERA. Sonny Gray (3-3) pitches for the A’s.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.