The Chicago White Sox will have a hard time living up to their thrilling victory against Seattle on Friday night, but the team will give it a go Saturday as they host the Mariners in the second of a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field.
Winners of four straight and seven of the last 10 in order to take a 2 1/2 game lead in the American League Central over Detroit, the White Sox fumbled away a five-run lead in the ninth inning last night, only to come back with two runs in the bottom of the frame to capture a 9-8 triumph in the series opener.
"From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in about a two-minute span," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski of the roller-coaster ride. "Obviously it was a huge win, not only for the way that it happened but because of everything that's going on with the pennant race."
After scoring single runs in the first and second innings, the Mariners took the lead in the top of the ninth when John Jaso singled to right to score Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders, the latter coming in after a throwing error by Alex Rios.
But the lead was short-lived by Seattle as Kevin Youkilis knocked in Gordon Beckham in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at 8-8 and then Paul Konerko doubled to right to plate DeWayne Wise with the game-winner. Konerko finished with three hits on the day, while Alexei Ramirez and Adam Dunn both knocked in three runs. Dunn, despite hitting just .207 on the season, connected on a pair of home runs, giving him a major-league leading 38 on the campaign.
Jake Peavy started the game for the Sox on the mound, making it through seven innings with just two runs allowed on seven hits, striking out five, but after the offensive eruption by Seattle in the ninth he was no longer in contention for the win. Instead, the victory went to Addison Reed, who retired two batters while giving up three runs on two hits and a couple of walks.
Absorbing the loss was Tom Wilhelmsen, who registered just a single out in the final frame for the visitors, as they had their lengthy eight-game win streak halted. Seattle starter Jason Vargas was pulled after just four innings, having surrendered six runs on seven hits, including three home runs.
Ackley and Trayvon Robinson both accounted for three hits and a couple of runs scored for the Mariners, the latter belting his first home run of the season. Jesus Montero added a pair of hits, including his 14th long ball of the campaign.
A first-round draft pick by the Texas Rangers in 2007, 17th overall, Blake Beavan readies to take the hill for the Mariners tonight against Chicago. The right-hander won for the second time in the month of August last Sunday when he led Seattle to a victory over visiting Minnesota.
Against the Twins, Beavan allowed just a single run on seven hits and a walk, striking out three over the course of 5 1/3 innings of action. Now a game over .500 (8-7) on the campaign, Beavan lost his only previous outing against Chicago earlier this season.
As for the Sox, they have Jose Quintana heading to the hill in search of just his second win since the first week of July. The left-hander has made seven appearances since celebrating a win over Texas on July 5 and has only one victory to show for his efforts.
Most recently Quintana appeared against Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday, giving up just two earned runs on nine hits and four walks, fanning five through seven innings, but the team still suffered a 5-2 setback and he went without a decision yet again.
Quintana pitched against Seattle earlier this season, his first-ever action versus the Mariners, but only pitched 2/3 innings back in early June.
Seattle, now four games under .500 on the season and 13 1/2 games off the pace in the AL West where it is in last place yet again, has scored the fewest runs of any team in the league with just 499 through 126 games. The Mariners are severely lacking in power numbers, showing a league-low .366 slugging percentage.