White Sox win home-run derby against M's
Maybe the biggest thing Ryan Feierabend learned in his first major-league start is how easily balls fly out of U.S. Cellular Field during day...
Special to The Seattle Times
CHICAGO — Maybe the biggest thing Ryan Feierabend learned in his first major-league start is how easily balls fly out of U.S. Cellular Field during day games. The Chicago White Sox launched five home runs, three off the 21-year-old left-hander, in a 12-7 victory on Sunday.
The Mariners homered four times. The nine home runs tied for third-most in U.S. Cellular history.
The victory kept alive the slim postseason hopes of the defending World Series champions, who remained 5 ½ games behind Minnesota in the wild-card race. The Mariners, meanwhile, return home needing a six-game sweep of their season-ending homestand to finish at .500.
For non-contending teams such as Seattle, late September is about rookies like Feierabend, who had a mixed day. In six innings, he threw 101 pitches, 62 for strikes. He struck out four, walked three and allowed eight hits and five runs, all earned.
"To be honest, I was more nervous out of the pen [twice this month] than I was starting today," Feierabend said. "I was happy with how some things went and upset with how some other things went. I felt good about my breaking ball. I was upset that I was falling behind in the count and giving up the longball."
Three of those eight hits were of the long variety, the most damaging coming back-to-back in the fifth. Paul Konerko hit his 34th home run, a two-run shot to left to give the White Sox a 4-1 lead. Joe Crede followed with his 30th, a monster shot that sailed 411 feet.
"You have days like that where you give up some longballs," Feierabend said. "The ball that Konerko hit, the changeup, just looked like a pop-up to me. Instead, it carried out. But the ball was over the middle of the plate, and he hit it for a home run."
Feierabend, who came in with a six-inning scoreless streak from two relief appearances, had his string end at eight when Brian Anderson, the White Sox's No. 9 hitter, hit a home run to left on an 0-2 pitch leading off the third for the game's first run.
Feierabend started with a rookie's shakiness, giving up a single to Pablo Ozuna, then balking him to second. Catcher Kenji Johjima came out for a chat.
"I told him not to worry so much about the runner so much," he said. "It is OK to give up one run. We wanted to get one out."
Feierabend did better, stranding Ozuna at third by striking out Jermaine Dye and getting Thome to fly out.
"His changeup was great today," Johjima said. "He was able to locate his fastball inside, that was very effective. So that is what I used for today's sequences."
"I think he learned two things," manager Mike Hargrove said. "I think he learned the importance of locating his fastball. I thought he had pretty good command of his fastball. He got two changeups out over the middle of the plate. Konerko hit one for a home run, then Crede hit one.
"In watching it, I felt that he threw more pitches than he had to to get the out. With his stuff, with his command, I don't think he has to throw that many pitches to set up an out."
The most damaging home runs came after Feierabend had departed. Juan Uribe hit his second career grand slam, off Joel Pineiro, with one out in the seventh to make it 10-4 for Chicago. Konerko added a two-run homer in the eighth off Francisco Cruceta.
The Mariners had their share of longballs, though they weren't quite as effective.
"It is a good place to hit," said Ben Broussard, who went back-to-back with Jose Lopez in the eighth for the Mariners.
Johjima hit a two-out, three-run home run, his 18th, in the seventh to bring the Mariners to 5-4 and tie Dan Wilson (1996) for the most in a season by an M's catcher. Raul Ibanez hit his 30th in the ninth.
Beltre extended his hitting streak to 14 games, singling in Betancourt in the fifth with the Mariners' first run.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.