Road trip not kind to Cust after home run barrage

CHICAGO — Nobody is happier to put the A's six-game road trip in the rearview mirror than designated hitter Jack Cust.

After hitting six homers over a nine-game stretch, Cust struggled mightily on the road against the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox. He was pinch-hit for in the eighth inning Sunday after striking out swinging in his first three at-bats in a 4-1 loss to Chicago.

For the trip, Cust hit .188 (3 for 16) with 11 strikeouts and no RBIs in five games.

Cust got off to a rocky start when he went down looking three times in the series opener against Texas, getting ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Kerwin Danley (Cust had a legitimate beef on the called third strike that preceded his ejection).

"I just haven't felt good," said Cust, who is still hitting .290. "I'm not getting pitches to hit. I just haven't felt anything. I'm thinking too much."

With Kurt Suzuki getting the day off, manager Bob Geren batted Cust third in one of the A's more unique lineups of the season.

Coco Crisp also sat, so Rajai Davis played center and led off, which wasn't that unusual. But Cliff Pennington hit seventh and Matt Watson and Matt Carson each drew starts in the outfield.

The A's didn't get their first base runner against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd until Pennington led off the sixth with a walk. Davis delivered a run-scoring single later in the inning to cut Oakland's deficit to 4-1.

But with the bases loaded and one out, Cust struck out and Kevin Kouzmanoff grounded out to first to end the rally.

"They definitely made some pretty good pitches on (Cust)," Geren said.

  • The A's lost their first game played during the day since June 23, having won seven straight leading into Sunday. Their 24-11 record in day games is best in the majors in terms of winning percentage (.686). ... Davis extended his hitting streak to seven games and is hitting .382 (21 for 55) with 12 RBIs over his last 15 games. "... Geren said he doesn't plan to alter his rotation with a day off coming Thursday. "... The White Sox are a major league-best 35-12 since June 9 and have won 20 of their past 22 home games.

    — JOE STIGLICH