The Mariners have seen enough of Hector Noesi. And while they made that decision earlier in the year, it’s even truer now after flat-lining once again against their former teammate.
Noesi wasn’t around at the end, but he helped keep the Mariners in check until the Chicago White Sox capitalized on a costly two-out error by rookie shortstop Chris Taylor for a 2-1 victory in 10 innings.
“You’d like to either get the big hop of the small hop,” Taylor said, “and I didn’t get either one. I should have made the play. Bottom line.”
The error put runners at first and third for Conor Gillaspie, who delivered what proved to be a game-winning single against Fernando Rodney on a line drive to right.
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It was a tough loss on a night that started with an emotional ceremony to induct former manager Lou Piniella into the Mariners Hall of Fame. A crowd of 40,122 roared Lou-u-u-u through much of Piniella’s speech.
That same crowd then watched as Noesi, the former Mariner turned Mariners tormentor, rolled through inning after inning in a pitchers’ duel with lefty James Paxton.
Rodney (1-5) inherited a 1-1 tie to start the 10th inning and gave up a one-out single to Tyler Flowers. Jordon Danks batted for Moises Sierra and grounded into a force out at second.
But Danks stole second base without a throw when catcher Mike Zunino mishandled the ball. Gordon Beckham then sent a grounder to short that Taylor booted.
“He just missed it,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It came up on him. That happens. I told him if he’s lucky enough to play this game a long time, he’ll make a lot more of those errors. That’s just the way it goes.”
Gillaspie followed with his single. Eric Surkamp (1-0) got the victory when Jake Petricka closed out the game for his eighth save.
The loss snapped the Mariners’ four-game winning streak and dropped them 11/2 games behind Kansas City in the race for the American League’s final wild-card spot.
New York and Toronto are also 11/2 games behind the Royals.
Noesi started the season with the Mariners before they finally tired of waiting for him to realize his potential. A deal on April 12 sent him to Texas. Shortly thereafter, he landed in Chicago.
“This is as good as he has pitched for us,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He was throwing strikes and getting ahead early. ... He pitched great.”
Noesi has a 5.50 ERA this season when facing anyone except the Mariners — but he dominates his former club. He entered the night with a streak of 11 scoreless innings against the Mariners.
That includes 62/3 innings on July 6 in a 1-0 victory in Chicago. And now this: 71/3 innings marred only by one unearned run.
“I guess he just pitches good against us,” said Robinson Cano, whose hitting streak ended at 10 games. “It’s nothing different. It’s the same guy. It’s the same thing we’ve seen every time we face him.”
McClendon previously called that July 6 loss the club’s poorest effort of the season in terms of its hitting approach.
“We were a little better,” he said. “We hit into some double plays tonight. We just couldn’t get a big hit to get us over the hump…Noesi has been tough on us for some reason. We haven’t been able to figure him out.”
The Mariners scored their only run on Kyle Seager’s two-out double in the fourth after an error by Beckham on Cano’s grounder to second.
Cano went to third on a Kendrys Morales single before Seager drove the ball into the right-field corner.
Paxton was making his second start since returning from nearly four months on the disabled list because of a strained back muscle. And he was sharp; he nursed that 1-0 lead into the seventh inning.
Chicago pulled even after Jose Abreu led off with a double into the right-field corner. Abreu went to third on Dayan Viciedo’s fly to deep right, which prompted the Mariners to shorten their infield.
It didn’t matter. Alexei Ramirez tied the game by lining an RBI double down the left-field line. That also finished Paxton.
“I just made a mistake,” Paxton said. “I left that change-up up in the zone to Ramirez. Abreu hit a good pitch. That was low and away. He’s just a good hitter.”
It stayed 1-1 until the 10th.