Felix Hernandez jumped ahead 0-2 in the count on Alex Rios with a runner on first and one out in the sixth. But the next pitch was hung by Hernandez and Rios hit it 417 feet over the wall in left center to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead. The Mariners had best start taking advantage of all the baserunners they keep getting. Raul Ibanez came up with two on and two out in the top of the sixth, but the White Sox replaced starter Dylan Axelrod with left-handed reliever Donnie Veal — who promptly struck Ibanez out.
11:45 a.m.: The White Sox tied it 1-1 in the fifth inning off Felix Hernandez, with Conor Gillaspie leading off with a triple lined over the head of Michael Morse in right field. We saw Michael Saunders make a tough catch on a similar ball hit yesterday, but I’m not going to play that game on every fly ball hit to the corners. There’s a very tough wind out there today and that ball was hit on a line. Might Saunders have caught it? Maybe, but he’s not playing in right today. He’s in center so Franklin Gutierrez can last longer than a month with the team this year.
Hector Gimenez hit a sac fly to center that tied the game.
In the top of the frame, Justin Smoak led off with a single and Dustin Ackley walked to put two on with none out. But Kelly Shoppach struck out and then Brendan Ryan grounded hard into a double play on a nice glove play behind his bag by third baseman Gillaspie, who stepped on it for one out and threw on to first to snuff the rally.
10:25 a.m.: Raul Ibanez just helped the Mariners take a 1-0 lead in the second inning after notching a one-out double to right-center for his first hit of the season. Ibanez then took third on a passed ball with two out and scored on a hard Dustin Ackley smash that deflected off the glove of first baseman Jeff Keppinger for what was ruled an error on a bit of a tough play. Could have been ruled a hit.
9:50 a.m.: Felix Hernandez today will try to join some baseball Hall of Famers in the elite stats department. But he will also try to do something the Mariners have not accomplished since 2009 at U.S. Cellular Field — win a series. Back on Sept. 16 and 17 of that year was the last time the Mariners even won consecutive games at this ballpark and those two wins also gave them the series victory.
Since then, the Mariners have lost seven straight series here.
Of course, it’s tough to capture a series when the Mariners have only won four of their last 23 games at this park and we saw last night how you can’t take any lead for granted once the balls get hit in the air. The Mariners blew a 6-1 lead last night and then needed Tom Wilhelmsen to hold on for dear life after nearly botching that 8-6 advantage in the 10th.
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