White Sox fall short after rallying in the cold
De Aza, Rios homer; Quintana struggles after fielding error
CHICAGO -- With a first-pitch temperature of 34 degrees Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field and a closing reading below freezing, there really was only one way to describe the twists and turns of Seattle's 8-7 victory over the White Sox in 10 innings.
"The good part about tonight is it's over, basically," said White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn, who finished 1-for-5 with a run scored and a stolen base. "It was miserable out there for everybody and we had our chances and it didn't happen."
"I don't know anybody that really enjoys hitting in this weather," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You know it might just be one of those nights. Usually weather like this favors the pitcher."
So Friday became the exception that proved the frigid rule.
Twenty-two hits were knocked out between the two teams, including three home runs, and neither White Sox starter Jose Quintana nor Mariners starter Blake Beavan made it past the fifth inning. Ultimately, this game came down to the Mariners taking advantage of their scoring chances in the 10th against Nate Jones, in his second inning of work, and the White Sox failing to capitalize.
After Kendrys Morales' double and Jesus Montero's single scored two runs off Jones, who lost for the first time in his career after eight victories, the White Sox scored one in the bottom of the frame and loaded the bases with two outs against closer Tom Wilhelmsen. They loaded the bases with just one hit, a run-scoring single from Dewayne Wise, but took advantage of three walks.
Wilhelmsen (second save) threw only 17 of his 34 pitches for strikes. But when Tyler Flowers swung through his third strike, the Mariners (3-2) somehow had escaped.
"Obviously, I couldn't find the zone, walking just about everybody that got up there," Wilhelmsen said. "I got lucky on the guys that swung early and in a game like that, you've just got to buckle down and keep fighting. We can't lose that game. It was just bear-down time of the utmost importance."
"One thing that I can say about this team and the last few years, I feel like no matter what the score is, that we somehow, some way grind out at-bats and give ourselves an opportunity to win it or tie it up," Dunn said. "We did that tonight. He just shut the door."
Dunn actually looked as if he tied the game after Wilhelmsen walked Alex Rios with one out in the 10th, but his high fly ball to right was caught at the warning track by Michael Saunders. Ventura pointed to Saunders' inning-ending running catch in the seventh on Dunn's line drive, with Alejandro De Aza as the go-ahead run at third, as the key moment of the contest.
Rios' run-scoring groundout in the seventh completed a five-run comeback, after Quintana fell apart during a five-run fifth.
Jason Bay opened the frame with a double and moved to third on Quintana's error on Dustin Ackley's grounder to Paul Konerko. The first baseman made a toss slightly behind Quintana on the move, but Quintana dropped it when he elected to go with a barehand catch.
That mistake seemed to affect Quintana, who gave up five straight hits before Ventura removed him. Brendan Ryan started with a spinning liner over drawn-in third baseman Jeff Keppinger, and Franklin Gutierrez added a two-run double down the left-field line. Beginning with Gutierrez's extra-base hit, Quintana allowed hits on four straight pitches.
It was a center-cut curve to Gutierrez, followed by a slider down the middle to Saunders that went for a run-scoring triple. Morales singled home Saunders on a 90-mph fastball, and Michael Morse followed with a single to right on a 92-mph fastball. That brought in Matt Lindstrom to replace Quintana, who yielded five earned runs on eight hits in four-plus innings.
"That kind of took the wrong turn for me with that error," said Quintana, through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "After that I looked at the video and some of those pitches were right there. They were good pitches but they were right on them."
Hector Santiago threw three innings and 48 pitches in Thursday's loss, so the job fell upon Lindstrom to bridge the gap to the later innings. He did so without allowing a baserunner over 2 1/3 innings, matching a career high.
While Lindstrom held down the Mariners, home runs from De Aza and Rios contributed to a four-run fifth for the White Sox to cut the lead to 6-5. Unfortunately for Ventura's crew, they only had the one comeback on this night.
This sort of survival doesn't usually happen for the Mariners against the White Sox (2-2), with the White Sox holding a 33-11 head-to-head advantage since 2008 and a decisive 19-4 edge at home. The biggest number on Friday was the temperature, which is forecast in the 60s for Saturday.
"Obviously, it was tough conditions but for the most part, I think we had some good at-bats," said Dunn, who joked the only way to simulate the cold is going to a local restaurant and taking flips in its cooler. "We just couldn't get the big hit to really break it open, especially in the 10th inning."