Justin Upton missed two weeks with a sore shoulder, rejoined the lineup for three games, and is now sidelined again by the same injury. He’s missed five straight starts and interim manager Kirk Gibson indicated that Upton is not close to returning:
We’re not going to play him at this point. We’re going to make sure that he’s strong and right before we throw him back out there and have him get back to where he is or worse. He’s played 132 games this year and we want him to play more games than that. It gets more into, how do we keep him healthy? This has happened three years in a row. We’ve got to do some things differently, and a lot of that is up to him.
Upton is available to pinch-run and in fact came off the bench to steal a base Friday night, but we’re at the point in the season where non-contending teams pushing star players to come back from injuries just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
The Athletics tied a league record on Saturday thanks to Stephen Piscotty, who launched a two-run, 396-foot home run off of the White Sox’ Dylan Covey to put the club on the board in the second inning. The homer may not have erased the five-run deficit the A’s were working against, but it extended their home run streak to 24 consecutive road games — tying the 1996 Orioles for the longest home run streak on the road in 22 years.
Following Piscotty’s blast, they eventually tied things up in the fifth inning with a sac fly from Dustin Fowler and a two-run double off the bat of Jed Lowrie. Daniel Mengden, meanwhile, was forced off the mound after just two innings; he expended 44 pitches and gave up five runs on four hits and two walks.
The Athletics are currently tied with the White Sox 5-5 in the fifth. They’ll attempt to get a leg up in the series finale — and earn the standalone league record for most consecutive road games with a home run — when right-hander Paul Blackburn and southpaw Carlos Rodon go head-to-head on Sunday at 2:10 PM ET.