CHICAGO – After their dramatic comeback had fallen short a night earlier, the Seattle Mariners jumped out early on the Chicago White Sox, with a three-run homer by Kyle Seager in the first inning.
They couldn’t keep that lead, either. The White Sox whittled it away and finally took the lead in the sixth, holding on for a 5-4 victory Saturday night.
“We came out, we were aggressive, we took the lead. It hurt us when they scored in that first inning, but we still had 3-1 in that situation,” manager Eric Wedge said.
“Then it was just a matter of missed opportunities. We had multiple opportunities to score runs, we had multiple opportunities to execute. It didn’t go down.”
The Mariners scored six runs in the ninth Friday night to take an 8-7 lead, only to have the White Sox rally for two in the bottom half and a 9-8 victory.
And Seattle had a chance to post another big inning in the first Saturday night. After Seager’s homer, the Mariners worked three walks off wild Chicago starter Jose Quintana to load the bases but couldn’t muster another run.
“We had them on the ropes there that first inning, maybe just a couple swings from getting them out of that ballgame early. It completely changes the complexion of the whole game,” Seager said.
Seager hit his second homer of the night in the ninth to cut the Mariners deficit to one run before Addison Reed – who’d been roughed up a night earlier – got the final out for his 24th save.
Chicago backup catcher Tyler Flowers, who entered the game in the third when starter A.J. Pierzynski and manager Robin Ventura were both ejected, hit a game-tying homer in the sixth and had a bunt single to set up an insurance run in the eighth.
“I’m always ready to come in, but not usually that early. Being behind (Pierzynski), there’s not too many opportunities to get in the game when he’s starting,” Flowers said.
Nate Jones (6-0) got the final out of the sixth to get the win. Paul Konerko had an RBI single in the first and Alex Rios another in the third.
Flowers led off the sixth with his fifth homer of the season – a drive to center on the first pitch of the inning by Blake Beavan. With two down and Alexei Ramirez on third, Dewayne Wise singled to center off Charlie Furbush to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead.
Beavan (8-8) went five-plus innings, giving up seven hits and four runs.
“Blake gave us a chance to win, but he still made it difficult for himself at times because he didn’t have the sink on his fastball that he needs to have,” Wedge said.
The Mariners loaded the bases in the seventh against Matt Thornton on a single, hit batter and a walk. Brett Myers relieved and retired pinch-hitter John Jaso on a soft liner to second baseman Gordon Beckham to end the inning.
“We still had an opportunity to win that ballgame. All we had to do was come through in one or two situations, even one situation,” Wedge said. “If we execute late in the ballgame, doing what we need to do, it’s a different game.”
Center fielder Michael Saunders, who collided with Eric Thames on Konerko’s winning single Friday night, was out of the lineup with a sore groin. Thames had a pinch-hit single in the eighth.
Seattle will send Kevin Millwood (4-10, 4.29 ERA) to the mound today against Chicago’s Gavin Floyd (9-9, 4.56) in an 11:05 a.m. (PDT) game that will be televised on Root Sports and broadcast on 710-AM and 1030-AM.