OAKLAND — Gio Gonzalez settled down after a rough first inning in his major league debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 6. And he repeatedly got himself out of jams last Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, which resulted in his first big league win.
There weren't many positives to draw from Gonzalez's Sunday start against the Chicago White Sox, except for the fact that there's absolutely no chance he or his teammates will have to face baseball's best home run hitting team again this season.
Gonzalez was rudely reintroduced to his former organization as the White Sox lit him up for seven earned runs, including three home runs, in just 31/3 innings en route to a 13-1 victory over the A's before 28,843 sun-drenched fans at McAfee Coliseum.
The result matched Oakland's most lopsided loss of the season, tying a 12-0 beatdown it received from the Blue Jays on May 29. At 56-67, the A's are now a season-low 11 games under .500.
"I tended to put a little too much pressure on myself, and I had some teammates tell me after the game that I have way better stuff than what I was showing out there," Gonzalez said. "I tried to overthrow, I tried to do too much, I tried to be too detailed with what I was going out with. I just let it get the best of me."
Making his third start for the A's, Gonzalez allowed six hits, walked five and had one wild pitch. Juan Uribe had a two-run homer off a hanging curveball in the second and Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye both went deep in the third as Chicago rolled out to an 8-0 lead.
Quentin's homer came on an 88 mph fastball right down the middle, and Dye went the opposite way on a changeup, as Gonzalez's ERA shot up from 4.09 to 7.53.
"You give Chicago respect. They're a great hitting team," Gonzalez said. "That's why I was trying to do too much, instead of trusting my stuff and letting it do its own work."
Alexei Ramirez put an exclamation point on the day with a grand slam to left field off of A's reliever Dan Meyer, giving the White Sox a 13-0 lead. The White Sox lead the majors with 177 homers. Meyer was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento after the game.
Gonzalez drew praise from A's manager Bob Geren on Tuesday for his work against the Rays. In five innings, Gonzalez, who the A's acquired from the White Sox in January in the Nick Swisher deal, gave up just one earned run and five hits.
Sunday was a different story.
"His stuff was there — fastball, breaking ball — it was sharp. It just wasn't in the strike zone often and when it was, it wasn't in the right location," Geren said. "After a start like that, you just have to shake it off, have a good side session and get right back out there in Seattle."
The A's didn't have much luck solving starter Javier Vazquez, who had eight strikeouts and gave up just four hits in eight innings in helping the White Sox win back-to-back games in Oakland for the first time since 2000.
"When you get a pitcher that has a 90-95 mph fastball that has good command and you give him a lead, it does make it easier on him, I think," Geren said. "He had an opportunity to stay aggressive there. He didn't have a thin margin to work with."
After going 2-4 on this brief homestand, the A's now embark on a three-city, 10-game road trip that takes them through Minnesota, Seattle and Anaheim. The team was 1-9 on its last 10-game sojourn through Boston, Toronto and Detroit, and is 2-14 on the road since the All-Star break.
Contact Curtis Pashelka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How bad has the A's offense been this month? Here's some perspective:
2 The A's have scored two runs or less in 11 of their past 16 games.
39 The A's have scored 39 runs this month. The Rangers scored 39 runs last week. (In fact, seven teams scored 39 runs or more last week.)
214 The A's batting average since Aug. 1 is .214. For the season they have the worst average in the majors.