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Covey tosses gem, Leury robs HR in shutout

MLB.com @scottmerkin

SEATTLE -- In his final five starts leading into the All-Star break, Dylan Covey was not good.

Not good, as in an 0-4 record with 26 earned runs allowed on 30 hits in 20 innings pitched. Luckily for Covey, that bad stretch didn't carry over into his first start of the second half, a 5-0 White Sox victory over the Mariners Saturday night at Safeco Field. Covey carried a no-hitter into the sixth until Dee Gordon singled to center with one out. He finished with two hits allowed over 8 1/3 shutout innings, winning for the first time since June 13.

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SEATTLE -- In his final five starts leading into the All-Star break, Dylan Covey was not good.

Not good, as in an 0-4 record with 26 earned runs allowed on 30 hits in 20 innings pitched. Luckily for Covey, that bad stretch didn't carry over into his first start of the second half, a 5-0 White Sox victory over the Mariners Saturday night at Safeco Field. Covey carried a no-hitter into the sixth until Dee Gordon singled to center with one out. He finished with two hits allowed over 8 1/3 shutout innings, winning for the first time since June 13.

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Chicago's fifth shutout of the season was preserved by Leury Garcia's leaping catch with one out in the ninth, taking away a potential two-run homer from Mitch Haniger off of Joakim Soria with his perfectly timed lunge at the left-field wall. Garcia started the game in center and moved to left in the ninth.

Video: Must C Catch: Leury Garcia robs Haniger of a home run

"Definitely just mixing up speeds really good tonight," said Covey, who threw 105 pitches over 8 1/3 innings. "Curveball was probably the best it's been in the last two years or so. And it was just another pitch to get them off of my fastball.

"The last couple of outings, I haven't been mixing up speeds enough. They've been getting to me the second time through. Just got to give a lot of credit to [catcher Omar Narvaez]. He called a really good game. I think I shook him off twice and the next pitch he threw down was the one I wanted."

Video: CWS@SEA: Covey discusses his outing in White Sox win

Covey topped out at 96.8 mph with his fastball, according to Statcast™. He recorded seven swinging strikes, going to seven three-ball counts, but also recorded 22 called strikes. The right-hander also broke out a straight change in his repertoire, which worked effectively alongside the split-change he already threw.

"I threw a few good ones today," said Covey of the new change. "Just another pitch that the hitters have to think about instead of just fastball, fastball, fastball. Something to get in the back of their heads to second guess what pitch might be coming and it worked out really good."

Video: CWS@SEA: Servais discusses facing Covey in 5-0 loss

"We knew he had a good sinking fastball coming into the game," said Seattle manager Scott Servais of Covey's dominance. "He executed pitches, thought he made some pretty good pitches inside against some of our left-handed hitters tonight, so you gotta give him a ton of credit. He threw the ball really well and they played good defense behind him."

Video: CWS@SEA: Covey has no-no broken up on Gordon's single

It was a double no-hitter through three innings, with Seattle's Felix Hernandez, making his 395th career start, striking out the side in the second and the third. But the White Sox were ready to dethrone the King the second time through the order.

Yolmer Sanchez singled, Jose Abreu was hit by a pitch and, after Daniel Palka's 108 mph line drive was caught by Gordon, Avisail Garcia launched a three-run home run to center to open a four-run fourth. It was Garcia's ninth home run in his last 14 games and officially announced his return from the disabled list, where he had been stationed since July 9 with a strained right hamstring.

"I was looking for something slow because that's how he struck me out the first time," said Garcia, who has 10 RBIs in 10 career games at Safeco. "I just tried to let him throw the ball first and see and hit it. Not try to do too much."

Video: CWS@SEA: Garcia rips a 3-run home run to center field

The rest was up to Covey, who needed just 38 pitches total from the fifth to eighth innings. The 8 1/3 innings represented a career high for Covey, who struck out five and walked two.

"Early on I kind of felt a little off," Covey said. "I felt like I was getting really deep into counts to a lot of guys. But after the second inning ended, in the third, fourth, I started to pick up some steam and poured in some strikes. It really worked out."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Early hit takeaway: Ben Gamel's ground ball up the middle for the last out in the second was Seattle's closest call to a hit before the sixth. But shortstop Tim Anderson ranged on to the outfield grass behind second to glove the grounder and nail Gamel at first with the long throw.

Video: CWS@SEA: Anderson throws out Gamel at first base

First out at third: Covey faced a two-on, nobody-out situation in the fourth after Jean Segura reached on Sanchez's two-base throwing error and Haniger walked. But Segura tried to steal third with the Mariners down four runs and was thrown out by catcher Narvaez. The Mariners didn't score in the inning.

Video: CWS@SEA: Narvaez throws Segura out at third base

SOUND SMART
The White Sox have now gone 274 games without a complete game. Their last complete game came from Chris Sale at the Royals on Sept. 16, 2016. White Sox manager Rick Renteria was going hitter by hitter in the ninth with Covey, who started the inning at 97 pitches.

"We wanted to make sure it was as good an outing as he could possibly have," Renteria said. "But yes, if he had gotten the next out, he would have continued in there and I was just going to go batter for batter."

Video: CWS@SEA: Renteria discusses Covey's dominant outing

HE SAID IT
"It's not like I was trying to throw pitches that they were going to swing and miss at. I was trying to throw pitches and have them hit it. They were hitting it right at guys pretty much the whole game." -- Covey, on his two-hit effort

UP NEXT
Reynaldo Lopez (4-7, 3.91 ERA) makes his 20th start, 12th on the road and first against the Mariners during Sunday afternoon's series finale at Safeco Field with a 3:10 p.m. CT first pitch. Marco Gonzales is scheduled to oppose him for Seattle. Lopez, who was one of the White Sox most consistent first-half pitchers, is 0-2 with a 5.84 ERA over his last two starts.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Dylan Covey, Leury Garcia