Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Bullpen locks down late innings for series win

Zunino delivered deciding blow while Hernandez held serve through 6
Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Twice, the Mariners' players found themselves behind, and on both occasions, they battled to catch up. But once Mike Zunino gave them their first lead, the bullpen made sure it held up.

Zunino delivered a solo home run on the ninth pitch of his sixth-inning at-bat, and the Mariners used six innings of blue collar work by Felix Hernandez to hold off the White Sox 4-3 on Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Twice, the Mariners' players found themselves behind, and on both occasions, they battled to catch up. But once Mike Zunino gave them their first lead, the bullpen made sure it held up.

Zunino delivered a solo home run on the ninth pitch of his sixth-inning at-bat, and the Mariners used six innings of blue collar work by Felix Hernandez to hold off the White Sox 4-3 on Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

View Full Game Coverage

But a trio of relievers were the real stars as they combined to retire the final nine White Sox hitters in order. Combined with Hernandez, the Mariners retired the final 13 in a row.

Hernandez, who allowed two runs in the first -- including a leadoff home run to Yoan Moncada -- scattered seven hits and allowed three runs over six innings. Hernandez also struck out six and walked two before Mariners relievers James Pazos and Juan Nicasio were perfect in the seventh and eighth innings. Edwin Diaz worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 10th save as the White Sox failed to manage a hit after Matt Davidson singled with one out in the fifth.

Video: SEA@CWS: Nicasio strikes out the side in the 8th

"If you have a great bullpen, that's how you win games," Hernandez said.

Wade LeBlanc's 4 2/3 innings on Monday kept manager Scott Servais from going deeper into his bullpen after starter Mike Leake gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings in the 10-4 loss to the White Sox.

"Obviously, that back half of the bullpen is throwing the ball really well," Zunino said. "We're just hoping that we can keep giving them some leads and marching them out there."

Zunino's solo shot gave the Mariners a 4-3 lead after Nelson Cruz tied the game in the fifth inning with an RBI single. Cruz, who went 3-for-5, also drove in a run in the third inning with an RBI single when the Mariners scored a pair of runs to tie the score at 2. Jean Segura also drove in a run with a two-out single, which scored Zunino, who led off the third with a double.

Video: SEA@CWS: Cruz plates Segura with an RBI single

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Zunino's decisive homer came after he fell behind 0-2. Zunino also homered in Monday's loss after going hitless in nine at-bats after coming off the disabled list. 

"I knew I barreled it," Zunino said of Wednesday's home run that drifted into the right-field seats. "With the height and stuff and how the wind was -- it swirls pretty weird here sometimes -- I knew I hit it well, but was just happy I got it high enough it was able to clear [the fence]."

Video: SEA@CWS: Zunino belts a go-ahead solo homer to right

HE SAID IT
"I don't know what I was thinking, but really? This is how it's going to happen? But after that, I just made my adjustments." -- Hernandez, on settling in after giving up a home run and double on the first two pitches he threw

UP NEXT
Left-hander James Paxton looks to rebound from a rough outing in his last start, when he allowed five runs in just four innings against the Rangers, in Thursday's 3:10 p.m. PT series opener against the Indians. Cleveland will counter with Mike Clevinger, who is coming off a two-hit shutout against the Orioles.

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com and is based in Chicago.

Seattle Mariners, Mike Zunino