after a 10-game homestand started with three straight losses, the oakland athletics have righted themselves and now own the best record in the american league.
They'll try to add to a four-game winning streak as they begin the final three of the home stretch monday night against the chicago white sox, who open a nine-game road trip without quite as much confidence.
Oakland (23-15), which has also won five straight at home against chicago (19-20), has outscored opponents 23-4 in the last four games. A three-game home sweep of washington ended with sunday's 9-1 victory as derek norris hit a pair of three-run homers against gio gonzalez, the pitcher he was traded for after the 2011 season.
Norris, who is part of a catching platoon with john jaso while batting .385, is continuing to make a case for everyday at-bats with a 6-for-12 mark in the winning streak.
"it was one of those special days," said norris, whose six rbis were a career high. "i've never hit two home runs in a game. It still feels surreal."
oakland's al-best pitching staff has gotten a huge lift lately from the bullpen, which has a 1.27 era and a .173 opponents' batting average over the past nine games.
The white sox have lost three of four, and those games came at home against the nl's worst teams, the cubs and arizona. A 5-1 loss to the diamondbacks to conclude a 1-2 series sunday had manager robin ventura putting his players on warning.
"they were just flat, couldn't get anything going," ventura said. "something is going to happen. I don't know what yet, but something."