Another sign of the Mariners’ changing times.
For four innings Friday night, they did little against Chicago White Sox lefty Jose Quintana before opportunity beckoned in the fifth in the form of a walk and an error.
Mike Zunino rocked a three-run homer, to right field, and the Mariners were on their way to a 4-1 victory at Safeco Field.
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Hisashi Iwakuma, a 1-0 loser at Baltimore in his previous start, held the White Sox to one run in seven innings — a Dayan Viciedo homer in the fourth — before the bullpen closed out the victory.
Charlie Furbush struck out the two hitters in the eighth but departed after yielding an infield single. Yoervis Medina ended the inning by striking out Alexei Ramirez on three pitches.
Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth for his 32nd save.
The Mariners (61-54) are 4-0 on their current nine-game homestand and, by winning, remained tied with New York at one-half game behind Kansas City in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth.
Iwakuma (10-6) yielded just five hits and walked none in a 90-pitch effort that lowered his ERA to 2.86.
Rookie shortstop Chris Taylor contributed three singles to the Mariners’ nine-hit attack. He raised his average to .385 has hits in all 10 of his career starts since arriving July 24 from Triple-A Tacoma.
Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the seventh, and then set a career high by swiping second for his ninth stolen base of the season.
But the game turned on Zunino’s homer, a no-doubt drive to right on a 2-0 fastball from Quintana.
It was Zunino’s club-leading 18th homer of the season but just his second to the opposite field. He is also now one shy of Miguel Olivo’s 2011 club record for a catcher.
The Mariners have now scored at least four runs in four straight games for just the second time this season. They had a nine-game run from April 27 through the first game of a May 7 doubleheader. And they 8-1 in that span.
Overall, they are 45-10 when they score at least four runs.
Neither team scored before Viciedo drove a first-pitch fastball from Iwakuma over the right-center wall with two outs in the fourth inning to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners put their first two batters aboard in the fifth when Quintana (6-8) walked Chris Denorfia before third baseman Conor Gillespie dropped Logan Morrison’s pop in short left field near the line.
Zunino cranked his three-run homer, and it was 3-1.
Taylor and Austin Jackson followed with singles, which put runners at first and second with no outs. Dustin Ackley’s sacrifice moved them to second and third.
That prompted an intentional walk to Cano, which loaded the bases for Kendrys Morales, who delivered a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead.
The Mariners knocked out Quintana in the sixth when singles by Morrison and Taylor (his third hit) put runners at first and second with two outs.
Jackson high-chop over the mound against Ronald Belisario turned into a single that loaded the bases, but the Mariners left then loaded when Ackley flied out to left.
Quintana finished with a line that showed four runs, but just two earned runs, and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Chicago lost its leadoff hitter and center fielder when Adam Eaton limped toward first after opening the game with a grounder to third. The report was soreness in his rib cage.
Iwakuma pitched around singles in each of the first three innings, but the Mariners didn’t get their first runner until Morrison opened the third inning with a single.
Morrison went to second on a one-out passed ball and to third on Taylor single through the right side. But Quintana escaped when Jackson took a third strike, and Ackley flied to short left.