Chris Sale bested Scott Kazmir in a brilliant pitchers' duel, light-hitting Marcus Semien homered for the only run and the Chicago White Sox edged the rapidly fading Oakland Athletics 1-0 Thursday.
The A's lost for the 11th time in 14 games. They began the day leading the AL wild-card race, 1 1/2 games over Detroit and two games ahead of Seattle.
Sale (12-3) gave up two hits in eight innings, allowing a pair of singles to Jed Lowrie. Between the hits, the left-hander retired 17 batters in order.
Sale lowered his ERA to an AL-best 1.99, boosting his bid to become the first White Sox pitcher to lead the league in the category since Joe Horlen in 1967. Sale struck out nine and walked two.
Jake Petricka pitched the ninth, yielding one hit, and got his 13th save in 16 tries.
Kazmir (14-8) went the distance, giving up four hits, striking out seven and walking one.
Semien hit a leadoff homer in the sixth into the left-field bleachers. He started the day with a .216 batting average and three home runs.
Each pitcher had given up only one single to that point.
Oakland has scored more than three runs only 15 times in 39 games since slugger Yoenis Cespedes was traded to Boston on July 31.
The Athletics posed their only threat in the eighth. Lowrie's single and Alberto Callaspo's two-out walk put a runner in scoring position, but Coco Crisp bounced out to end the inning.
Kazmir entered the game with a 3-5 record and 5.89 ERA in 11 career starts against the White Sox.
Athletics: LHP Sean Doolittle is expected to return from the disabled list on Friday. The closer has been sidelined since Aug. 24 because of a strained intercostal muscle. … OF Craig Gentry was held out of the series finale one day after he suffered a concussion on a play at first base. He's likely to sit out the series in Seattle this weekend as well. … C Stephen Vogt continues to be slowed by what manager Bob Melvin calls “a pretty significant (left ankle) sprain” and won't be available until next week at the earliest.
White Sox: 1B Paul Konerko will test his fractured left hand with some dry swings on Friday then plans to hit short tosses and off a tee the next day. The veteran could return to action on the next road trip. “I'm going to be back,” said Konerko, who will retire after the season. “There's no doubt.”
Athletics: RHP Jason Hammel (2-5, 4.70) opens a key three-game series at Seattle on Friday night. The Mariners will start LHP James Paxton (5-2, 1.87).
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana (7-10, 3.38) will oppose Twins RHP Phil Hughes (5-9, 3.55) in the opener of a three-game set in Minnesota on Friday night.