SEATTLE – Bad news for the A.L. Central: The White Sox have snapped out of their mini-slump, and Bobby Jenks appears to be back on track, too.
John Danks combined with J.J. Putz and Jenks on a two-hitter, Alexei Ramirez homered and first-place Chicago beat the woeful Seattle Mariners 4-0 on Tuesday.
Danks (10-7) allowed Casey Kotchman’s infield single in the second and Ichiro Suzuki’s two-out single in the eighth on his final pitch of the night. He struck out eight and walked four, then got a dugout bear hug from manager Ozzie Guillen as Chicago increased its lead in the Central to a season-high 3 1/2 games over Detroit and Minnesota.
Putz got the final out of the eighth for his 25th consecutive scoreless outing, breaking Shingo Takatsu’s White Sox record from 2004. And closer Jenks pitched a perfect ninth in his first appearance since he failed to record an out on Sunday, when he was charged with four runs in a loss at Minnesota.
“That was the reason he was in there,” save situation or not, Guillen said of Jenks, who has 20 saves in 21 chances but a 4.63 ERA. “The way he pitched against Minnesota I wanted to get him in there the first opportunity I could. Hopefully, it creates a positive environment for him. Bobby’s good at bouncing back.”
“Games like that, I try not to let them affect me in any way,” Jenks said. “Save situation or not, I would have the same attitude.”
Even with hot-hitting slugger Carlos Quentin resting his bruised right hand, the White Sox have added two games to their lead in as many nights following a three-game skid. Sunday’s potentially crushing setback against the Twins, in which they blew a three-run lead in the ninth, is already a distant memory thanks to this get-well trip to Seattle.
The White Sox are a baseball-best 28-8 since June 9.
The Mariners looked particularly lifeless while losing for the 14th time in 17 games and plummeting to a season-low 22 games under .500.
Chicago went in front in the fourth. Alex Rios drew a leadoff walk against Doug Fister (3-6), advanced to third on Paul Konerko’s double and scored on Mark Kotsay’s groundout.
The game was essentially over when Juan Pierre doubled home Ramirez in the fifth, making it 2-0.
Seattle has scored two runs or less 44 times in 94 games this season. The Mariners managed just one run in Monday’s loss.
Danks dominated – and Seattle disintegrated – from there.
“The thing (is), when you are having trouble scoring runs John Danks is not the guy you want to see,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He showed up again tonight – as good as I’ve ever seen.”
Seattle, meanwhile, watched Jose Lopez shuffle down the line in the sixth on a hard smash that Omar Vizquel snared. A soft, looping throw across the diamond beat Lopez by multiple steps.
“You still got it, Omar! You still got it!” a vendor in the low box seats yelled to the 43-year-old former Mariner as Vizquel returned to the dugout following one of his many defensive gems Tuesday.
“Omar put on a show today at third base. I mean, a show!” Guillen said.
Then with one out in the seventh, Kotchman hit a soft, broken-bat liner that was easily caught by Ramirez. The shortstop seemed surprised to see Milton Bradley had run to second base. Bradley was standing on second as Ramirez threw to first for the inexplicable double play. The inning abruptly ended, and the home crowd of 21,366 booed.
How sad is it in Seattle? The fans’ only excitement came when a young man ran across the infield before the bottom of the ninth. The crowd roared as security quickly tackled the guy in short left field. A sheriff’s deputy roughly handcuffed him and escorted him through a gate.