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Mariners squander early lead in loss to White Sox
An eighth-inning sacrifice fly proved to be the difference in the 5-4 loss, Seattle's second straight.
Special to The Seattle Times
Mariners @ White Sox, 11:10 a.m., ROOT Sports
CHICAGO — There still was a buzz around the ballpark Saturday afternoon following Friday night's wild finish that saw the Mariners come back from a five-run deficit, only to lose in the bottom of the ninth.
"For me, it's a statement game right there," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "It says a great deal about our young people. A game like that can go a long way for a ballclub."
On Saturday, the Mariners were trying to start a new streak in the second game of a seven-game road trip after having their eight-game winning streak snapped.
Instead, they lost their second straight, 5-4, before 27,562 at U.S. Cellular Field, and are now 25-15 since the All-Star break. It was the first time the Mariners have lost back-to-back games since Aug. 8-10, and it was their first series loss after winning four in a row.
For the second night in a row, a Mariners starting pitcher didn't have his best stuff. And after Kyle Seager launched a three-run homer in the first inning, Seattle couldn't capitalize on scoring chances.
The Mariners went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base, leaving the bases full in the first and seventh innings.
"I love the way we came out today. We were aggressive. We took the lead," Wedge said. "That was just a matter of missed opportunities. We had multiple opportunities to score runs, we had multiple opportunities to execute, and we just didn't get it done."
Seager put the Mariners in front 3-0 on a three-run shot in the first inning. He drove in Dustin Ackley, who reached base on an infield single to lead off the game, and Trayvon Robinson, who walked.
Seager, who went 2 for 4 with two homers (Nos. 14 and 15) and matched a career high with four RBI, gave Seattle a home run in its eighth consecutive game, and 21 in its last 16. His two-out home run in the ninth cut the margin to 5-4.
But a comeback wasn't meant to be, this time. After Justin Smoak followed Seager with a base hit, John Jaso hit a foul pop-up near third base to end the game.
White Sox starter Jose Quintana walked four and threw 43 pitches in the opening frame as the Mariners batted around, but got out of a bases-loaded jam by getting Brendan Ryan to fly out and end the inning.
Quintana retired 12 straight batters until Jesus Montero singled in the fifth.
"We had them on the ropes that first inning," Seager said. "We were maybe just a couple of big swings away from getting him out of the ballgame that early."
The White Sox trimmed their deficit to 3-2 in the third on a single by Alex Rios that sent Kevin Youkilis home.
Mariners starter Blake Beavan (8-8) put runners on base in all but one of his five-plus innings pitched. He didn't have his usually exceptional control, walking a season-high three batters and hitting another.
Beavan allowed a leadoff homer to Tyler Flowers in the sixth to tie it and a double to Alexei Ramirez before exiting. Dewayne Wise singled off reliever Charlie Furbush to send home Ramirez to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead.
"I didn't really have a good feel for anything tonight," Beavan said. "I just tried to battle as much as I could and make pitches when they counted."
The Mariners loaded the bases in the seventh, but were unable to cash in as the pinch-hitting Jaso hit a soft liner to second for the third out.
Chicago, which won its fifth straight and 20th of its last 30 games, added an insurance run in the eighth, which ended up being the difference after Seager's solo shot in the ninth.