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Stiff neck puts status of Paul Konerko in doubt

Hector Santiago

Hector Santiago

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The facts: 3:07 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The starters: Chris Sale (5-2, 2.53) vs. Jarrod Parker (3-6, 5.40).

Updated: July 3, 2013 7:14AM

OAKLAND, Calif. — Two Saturdays ago in Anaheim, Adam Dunn finally showed signs of finding his swing. A low back issue crept up out of nowhere, and he hasn’t been right since.

It was Paul Konerko’s turn for a snakebite Saturday. He came to the park hitting .400 over his last seven games to raise his average to .243, but he also brought with him a stiff neck. It worsened, and the result was two non-competitive strikeouts against A’s starter Dan Straily.

“Yeah, it’s all part of the fun,’’ Konerko said.

The sarcasm hung there in a Sox clubhouse quieted by a fifth consecutive defeat. Konerko likely won’t be available Sunday to help the Sox break the skid.

“I’ll try to get out there as quick as I can because I was seeing the ball pretty good and feeling pretty good,’’ he said. “I just knew before my first at-bat I was in a little trouble and it just go worse. I knew this isn’t competitive here.’’

Walking it off

Hector Santiago escaped one bases-loaded jam with no outs in the ninth. Doing it again with one out an inning later would have beaten astronomical odds. It didn’t happen, as Santiago (1-3) walked Brandon Moss with one out on a 3-1 pitch.

“Walking people isn’t a good situation especially right there in that part of the game,’’ said Santiago, who walked five (two intentionally) in 12/3 innings.

The A’s had 16 hits and left 18 runners on. And the Sox still lost.

“We’re grinding out at-bats and do stuff offensively, fighting your way back,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “There was progress. There’s a silver lining to it. But you’re here to win games. Hector is going on a high-wire act as far as getting guys on and being a little erratic.’’

OK with switch

Alejandro De Aza went 2-for-5 with a two-run, tying single in the seventh, hitting like a guy who doesn’t want to be dropped from the leadoff spot he likes and that he’s held since last year. But if that happens, De Aza said he’s fine it.

“I don’t mind hitting any place in the order, one through nine,’’ said De Aza, who is batting .250 with 14 walks.

Ventura said that Dewayne Wise and Casper Wells might be in the lineup Sunday, so if De Aza sits it could be a good time for Alexei Ramirez to get a look at the top.

All together now

Alex Rios broke out of a 2-for-23 rut with two hits and a walk.

“It’s tough when we’re struggling as a group,’’ Rios said. “If the group is doing good and you’re not, it’s easier for you to manage that situation and cope with it because the team is doing well and you just have to be patient and wait for it to click.’’

This and that

Jesse Crain (0.72 ERA) pitched a scoreless eighth, stretching his career-high streak to 201/3 innings. He set a career high with his 22nd consecutive scoreless appearance.

◆ Jeff Keppinger (2-for-4) is 17-for-44 (.386) in his last 13 games.

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