SEATTLE — Brent Lillibridge hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth inning, Jake Peavy pitched six strong innings for just his second win since late June and the Chicago White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 on Friday night.
Lillibridge, a Seattle-area native and former college star across town at Washington, snapped a 2-all tie with his 12th homer deep into the bullpen in left-center field off Seattle starter Charlie Furbush. Lillibridge had struck out in his first two at-bats before taking Furbush (3-6) deep.
Peavy made it stand up, despite giving up seven hits to the Mariners and wiggling out of jams with runners on in nearly every inning. Peavy (6-6) left after the sixth and three White Sox relievers closed out the victory.
Seattle left runners in scoring position in the first, third and fourth innings against Peavy, but the only damage Seattle’s offense could manage was Miguel Olivo’s solo home run leading off the second and Trayvon Robinson’s bloop single in the fourth. Kyle Seager scored on Robinson’s single after doubling off the glove of Juan Pierre’s diving attempt to open the inning.
Otherwise, Peavy was strong. He matched his season high with eight strikeouts and retired the final six batters he faced. It was just the fourth start this season where Peavy allowed two earned runs or less.
Matt Thornton took over for Peavy and struck out Ichiro Suzuki and Dustin Ackley in the seventh, but gave up singles to Franklin Gutierrez and Mike Carp. Jesse Crain entered and walked Olivo but got rookie Kyle Seager swinging at strike three in the dirt to end the threat.
Crain finished off the eighth striking out Wily Mo Pena and Brendan Ryan, and getting a groundout from Robinson. Chris Sale then pitched the ninth for his fifth save in six chances.
Lillibridge’s homer was his fifth in the past 15 games and came after he got just one at-bat in Chicago’s previous series against the Los Angeles Angels. He homered in the last game he started last Sunday at Texas.
Chicago had a chance to add some insurance runs in the ninth with the bases loaded and no outs but failed to get a run home after pop ups from Lillibridge and Paul Konerko and a groundout from Alex Rios.
Furbush struggled from the outset, losing his second straight start and his first in three outings as a starter at Safeco Field. Furbush was part of a trade with Detroit that sent pitchers Doug Fister and David Pauley to the Tigers. Furbush immediately took to pitching in the vast spaces of the Mariners’ home park and was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three appearances at home since the July 30 trade.
But he barely made it out of the first inning on Friday. Furbush gave up a leadoff single to Pierre, a walk to Konerko and was punished for the mistakes by Rios’ RBI double and an RBI single from Alexei Ramirez. Furbush needed 35 pitches to escape the first and was done by the fifth even though his control had gotten better by then.