Mariners let one slip away at White Sox in rain-shortened loss
Kevin Millwood gave up a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh — the game's final inning — as Chicago swept Seattle with a 4-3 win.
Special to The Seattle Times
CHICAGO — If anything, the six-minute rain delay in the bottom of the seventh inning at Chicago on Sunday left Mariners starting pitcher Kevin Millwood a little wet and bewildered.
In the end, it might have cost the Mariners the game.
On a wet afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field that saw the start delayed by rain for 1 hour, 51 minutes, the Mariners led by a run with two outs in the White Sox's half of the seventh with a light, steady rain falling. After a walk to Jordan Danks, the game was delayed so grounds crew members could shovel sand onto wet spots in the infield.
Once play resumed, Tyler Flowers took Millwood deep to center for a two-run homer. A couple of singles later, the game was delayed again before being called official after another delay of 1 hour, 55 minutes.
The Mariners lost, 4-3, and were swept for the first time since Aug. 6-8 at Baltimore.
"It was just weird," Millwood said. "I thought he said they were going to put the tarp on and then they just put the diamond dry or whatever. I don't think anybody really knew what to do, just kind of standing around. Either way, it didn't affect what happened.
"I threw one good slider and then didn't get the other one away. For the most part, I was able to throw the ball where I wanted to all day, and when I really needed to, I didn't."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge wanted to complete the game, given how well his team has played lately.
"They're just working off the information they're getting," Wedge said. "They're getting the best information they can from the people who are supposed to know, and the information wasn't very good today. I know what they were trying to do, they were trying to keep (the field) from being tarped, and it worked against us.
"I wish we could have finished it off. Our kids are playing so hard right now, they're fighting. We could have won all three of these games. I like the way they're swinging the bats. We made a few mistakes, but we'll get better."
Casper Wells hit a two-run homer on a changeup from Hector Santiago in the fifth inning to give the Mariners a 3-2 lead. His shot to left-center field drove in Justin Smoak, who singled before him.
"If we had a little more time, who knows what could have happened, how this game could have turned out," Wells said. "It's nice to know that we can come back from big deficits and put runs on the board."
Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Jesus Montero's infield single that scored Dustin Ackley, who singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on Trayvon Robinson's single and Kyle Seager's ground out.
The White Sox tied it in the second on a sacrifice fly by Danks, scoring Alex Rios. Two batters earlier, Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan committed an error on a ground ball that allowed Rios to reach base. Ryan also couldn't bare-hand a tough hit from the next batter, Alexei Ramirez. It was called a hit, moving Rios to third.
Chicago grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third on a triple to right by Kevin Youkilis, scoring Ray Olmedo. The ball went under the glove of a diving Eric Thames and bounced to the wall.
"It was just a bad decision," Wedge said. "I like the aggressiveness to a point, but you can't be overly aggressive at the point and time of the game. But it's a fine line, because you don't want to take something away from him. If he makes that catch, it's a great play."
Millwood, who came into the game with a 1-6 record and 4.68 earned-run average in his last 15 starts, retired 10 straight batters after a pair of singles in the fourth, but couldn't keep the momentum going through the brief seventh-inning delay.
The Mariners squandered an opportunity in the seventh when Trayvon Robinson looked at strike three with the bases loaded. It was the third time in two games that the Mariners came up empty-handed with the bases loaded.
Chicago starter Gavin Floyd left the game after just two innings with right elbow discomfort. His replacement, Hector Santiago, allowed three hits, including the homer by Wells. He struck out three and set the Mariners down in order in three of his four-plus innings pitched.