A pair of solo shots in the top of the sixth proved the difference as the Mariners won game two against the White Sox 2-0 (box score) at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Third baseman Kyle Seager featured on offense and defense, hitting one of the homers and sparking a bases-loaded double play to protect the lead.
With a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, a one-out line drive bounced off pitcher Carson Smith’s ribs and fell beyond the reach of SS Ketel Marte, loading the bases. Chicago’s J.B. Shuck hit a grounder to Seager, who fired the ball home before catcher Jesus Sucre flung it down to first to turn a 5-2-3 double play and end the inning.
Leading off the sixth, Seager homered to right field off of lefty John Danks. Two outs later, Franklin Gutierrez crushed a full-count offering over the left field wall for his tenth homer.
Apart from the homers, recent batting woes continued. Seattle was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and left 10 men aboard. Nelson Cruz was 0-for-5, Robinson Cano was 0-for-4.
Taijuan Walker pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three hits and a walk while fanning six. He went down clutching his hip in the bottom of the seventh, due to what manager Lloyd McClendon characterized as a muscle cramp. Seattle reliever Tom Wilhelmsen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to pick up his fifth save.
“It was absolutely the right play to make. The ball took him home.” – McClendon on Seager’s double play.
Cruz’s 0-for-5 performance ends his career-best 37 consecutive game streak of reaching base . . . In the wake of GM Jack Zduriencik’s dismissal, the Mariners demoted C Mike Zunino to AAA Tacoma and called up C John Hicks, 25 and a fourth-round pick in the 2011 draft, to take his spot. Zunino was hitting .174, including a bases-loaded strikeout against Chicago Thursday—his 132nd of the season.
Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma (5-3, 4.29 ERA) will square off against the White Sox’s Jeff Samardzjia (8-10, 4.75 ERA) at 4:10 PT. Iwakuma is 3-1 with one no-decision in August.