April 25, 2010 in Sports

Ninth-inning blast beats M’s

Geoff Baker Seattle Times
Associated Press photo

Alex Rios (51) is congratulated after his game-winning homer.
(Full-size photo)


Today: Seattle at Chicago,

11:05 a.m. TV: FSN

Radio: 920-AM/1080-AM

CHICAGO – There have been times in the past eight months when Mariners closer David Aardsma would leave his trademark fastball a little too high in the zone.

On some of those days, the hitters would flat-out miss it. Other times, they’d fail to get good wood on the 95 mph heaters.

And then, there are times like this 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, when one of those too-high fastballs will be launched into a damp, late-afternoon sky, setting off an impromptu celebration.

“You never want to give it up, but it’s just a matter of the job,” Aardsma said after suffering his first blown save since Aug. 20. “It’s a matter of baseball. Of life. Sometimes, you’re not going to get them all.”

Alex Rios did get all of the 1-1 pitch Aardsma left up in the strike zone, giving the Mariners their second defeat in a row on a walkoff home run, something that hadn’t happened since 2002.

Seattle took a 4-2 lead on a two-run, ground-rule double to right by Casey Kotchman in the top of the frame.

That hit seemed certain to give Doug Fister the win after another eight strong innings. Aardsma had converted his last 16 save opportunities.

But a Paul Konerko solo homer to lead off the bottom of the ninth made it a one-run game. Aardsma later walked Carlos Quentin on a two-out, full-count pitch to bring Rios to the plate.

“That’s the hitter that changes the inning,” Aardsma said of Quentin. “I mean, who cares about Konerko? He hits a home run, he can hit it out of the stadium. I don’t even care. It’s a two-run ballgame. You’ve got to get another one. And with that walk, that’s the out I’ve got to get.”

Aardsma said he made only one really bad pitch during the walk. Fister had kept the Mariners in it despite two hits off Chicago starter Freddy Garcia the first seven innings. One was a Franklin Gutierrez solo homer in the fourth inning, the other a run-scoring Jose Lopez double in the seventh.

The only runs off Fister came in the fifth on an Alexei Ramirez two-run double that put Chicago up 2-1.

But Lopez’s double tied it, then Kotchman notched his double off Bobby Jenks in the ninth. A fan interfered with the ball in the corner and pinch-runner Jack Wilson, who had been on first base, was awarded home plate and a huge tack-on run for Seattle.

Turns out, it didn’t matter.

“With 16 straight saves going into today, you expect to win that ballgame,” said Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, whose team lost Friday’s series opener on an Andruw Jones homer off Mark Lowe in the ninth. “He got some pitches up in the zone but he’s been awfully consistent for us, perfect this year. He ended up leaving some pitches up, and he got hurt.”

White Sox 5, Mariners 4

I.Suzuki rf 400000.306
Figgins 2b 310012.186
F.Gutrrez cf 411103.382
Jo.Lopez 3b 412101.250
Griffey Jr. dh 300010.222
J.Wlsn pr-dh 010000.280
Kotchman 1b 301210.263
Byrnes lf 400000.125
Ro.Jhnsn c 300000.185
Tuiasospo ss 300000.211
Totals 3144436
Pierre lf 402000.232
Beckhm 2b 400002.212
An.Jones rf 301011.295
Konerko 1b 411100.267
Pierzynski c 400000.151
Quentin dh 300011.164
J.Nix pr 010000.300
Rios cf 423200.281
Teahen 3b 312001.273
Al.Ramrz ss 301200.220
Totals 32510525
Seattle 000100102—440
Chicago 000020003—5101

E—F.Garcia (1). LOB—Seattle 3, Chicago 3. 2B—Jo.Lopez (2), Kotchman (5), An.Jones (2), Al.Ramirez (4). HR—F.Gutierrez (1), off F.Garcia; Konerko (7), off Aardsma; Rios (3), off Aardsma. RBIs—F.Gutierrez (11), Jo.Lopez (9), Kotchman 2 (14), Konerko (13), Rios 2 (9), Al.Ramirez 2 (6). SB—Jo.Lopez (2), Rios (4). CS—Rios (2). RLISP—Seattle 2 (Byrnes 2); Chicago 3 (Konerko, Pierre, Pierzynski). RMU—Griffey Jr.. GIDP—Konerko, Al.Ramirez. DP—Seattle 3 (Jo.Lopez, Figgins, Kotchman), (Figgins, Kotchman), (Ro.Johnson, Ro.Johnson, Tuiasosopo).

Fister 8822141001.67

Aardsma L, 0-1

BS, 1-7
2/3 23311254.05
F.Garcia 7222251035.82
Santos 100000120.00


W, 1-0

IBB—off F.Garcia (Kotchman). T—2:34. A—25,253 (40,615).

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