OAKLAND, Calif. -- The White Sox scored four runs in the second inning against former Sox right-hander Brandon McCarthy and made them hold up for a 4-3 victory on Friday night.
The Sox (16-23) have won five of their last six, all on the road.
Phil Humber (3-3) breezed through six scoreless innings before tiring in the seventh, when the first three A's singled against him. Jesse Crain stopped the damage, and the Sox led 4-3 after seven.
In the eighth, A's center fielder Coco Crisp was out attempting to steal home for the tying run. With Sox left-hander Matt Thornton's back to him, Crisp dashed for the plate but was out on a close play as catcher A.J. Pierzynski lunged in front of the plate and tagged him on the right shoulder to preserve the lead.
"He caught me off guard a little bit,'' Thornton said. "Who knows, if I flinch maybe it's a balk.''
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the outcome of the play was an indication of how the Sox fortunes have turned on this road trip.
"I guarantee you, if they had tried that two weeks ago, he would have been safe,'' Guillen said. "That's how baseball is.''
Sergio Santos pitched a scoreless ninth, his fourth in as many opportunities. Santos has pitched 18 scoreless innings this season.
Omar Vizqel, playing in place of injured Mark Teahen (strained right oblique) drove in a run with a double and scored a run. The Sox managed one hit against McCarthy and two relievers after Vizquel's double. That was a single by Vizquel on which he was out trying to stretch into a double in the fourth. After that, the last 15 Sox went down in order.
At 5-2 on their current trip to Seattle, Anaheim and Oakland, the Sox assured themselves of a winning record on the trip.
Gavin Floyd opposes Tyson Ross Saturday, and Mark Buehrle faces A's ace Trevor Cahill on Sunday.