White Sox break skid with 16-inning victory
Despite losing five-run lead, eight-game losing streak ends
SEATTLE -- By the time the White Sox completed a 7-5 victory in 16 innings over the Mariners on Wednesday at Safeco Field, taking five hours and 42 minutes to complete, there wasn't much left for White Sox bench coach Mark Parent to say.
Except, that is, for one obvious matter.
"We broke the streak," said Parent of the club snapping an eight-game losing skid thanks to this marathon affair. "Hopefully, offensively late in the game carries over to tomorrow and the future. That was the good part about it."
The good part would have been better if the White Sox (25-32) could have finished off the victory in the 14th inning. A scoreless contest for 13 was broken up by the White Sox scoring five in the 14th against Danny Farquhar, with Alex Rios singling home the go-ahead run, and hits from Casper Wells, Jeff Keppinger and Hector Gimenez all adding insurance tallies.
There was no save involved for Addison Reed (2-0) but the lead seemed safe enough with the Mariners' sixth, seventh and eighth hitters due up in the 14th. They had two hits and eight strikeouts among them entering that frame.
That uplifting outlook all changed with four straight one-out singles to give the Mariners (26-34) their first run. None of them were hit particularly hard, but they all found open spots in the outfield. After Jason Bay struck out for a reassuring second out, Kyle Seager launched a game-tying grand slam -- the first extra-inning, game-tying slam in MLB history, according to Elias Sports -- on a 1-2 slider from the White Sox closer.
Seattle became the first team in MLB history to score five runs in the 14th inning or later to tie a game, according to Elias. But after the initial shock, the White Sox persevered.
"I had to double-check, counting the guys crossing home plate," Parent said. "It wasn't good. It was a breaking ball coming back over the middle of the plate and he put a good swing on it. That kid is a good hitter."
"Once he hit it, it was out," Reed said. "I don't even think I looked to watch. I knew it was out. It's part of baseball. It's going to happen. And I hope it doesn't happen again."
Reed set a career high with his three innings and 55 pitches thrown, as the eighth and final White Sox hurler. If the game had stayed tied into the 17th, Wells would have come into pitch, according to Parent, because he pitched in college.
Two runs scored against Hector Noesi (0-1) in the 16th took care of that problem. Alejandro De Aza's single to left-center scored Gordon Beckham, who had reached with his fourth hit and then swiped second. Rios added a run-scoring infield single, and Reed struck out the side to "save" his own victory.
"Tired," said De Aza with a laugh as to how he felt postgame. "We just kept battling until the end and we didn't give up. We just kept going."
"It was a long game," said Beckham, playing in just his third game since coming off the disabled list. "But I was glad [the hits] came at some point."
This extended affair marked the first time the White Sox had gone scoreless through 13 innings since Aug. 12, 2009, also in Seattle. The Mariners won that one in 14 innings. This also is the first game in MLB history in which both teams scored five-plus runs -- in the game, not just an inning -- after being held scoreless through nine.
In the throes of this painful losing streak, exacerbated by the loss of Jake Peavy for four-to-six weeks because of a non-displaced rib fracture on his left side, the White Sox never pushed a runner as far as second base over eight innings against Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma.
Meanwhile, the Mariners threatened in every inning but the third against Dylan Axelrod. They were thwarted each time by the White Sox defense, which turned six double plays.
With runners on first and third in the fourth, after the White Sox pitched around Raul Ibanez to get to Nick Franklin, Rios caught Franklin's line drive in right and made a perfect throw home to nail Seager. Gimenez blocked the plate enough to slow down Seager, tagging him on the helmet.
Axelrod threw just 47 of his 93 pitches for strikes, walking five and striking out four. But he was unscored upon over 5 1/3 innings. He was out of the game for the length of most nine-inning contests when Reed threw the 244th and final White Sox pitch to Bay.
Just about the only thing missing from the end of this one was White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who had left somewhere around the 12th to catch a flight back home to California for his daughter's high-school graduation. He hopes to be sharing in a three-game winning streak upon return Saturday.
"You don't score any runs for 13 innings and then you score 10 in one inning. That's baseball," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "You talk about never being able to figure this game out, that's a great example."
"What a game," said Peavy, who watched the contest from the clubhouse and the dugout. "Maybe a win like this, something crazy, will turn the tide."