SEATTLE – Doug Fister gave up three games’ worth of hits in five innings Saturday night, but what ultimately beat him and the Seattle Mariners was a pitcher who they’ve knocked around in the past.
The 11 current Mariners who’d faced White Sox starter Gavin Floyd had a combined .297 average against him. After Saturday night, that average dropped 35 points when Floyd held them to three hits over eight innings in a 6-0 White Sox victory at Safeco Field.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge gave Floyd credit, but laid a lot of the blame on his own hitters.
“Not taking anything away from their guy, but we didn’t do a very good job at all,” Wedge said. “We’ve done a better job of putting at-bats together, but today was the flip side of that.”
Fister, pitching seven days since his previous start, allowed 14 hits in 5 2/3 innings, and while he wasn’t pounded he didn’t miss a lot of bats. The White Sox didn’t miss a lot of holes, either, including the bottom of their batting order.
Chicago’s bottom three of Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel went a combined 10 for 12, including 9 for 9 off Fister.
The White Sox scored in the first inning on three hits, including Paul Konerko’s RBI single, then twice in the fifth when Fister hit Juan Pierre with the bases loaded and Adam Dunn hit a sacrifice fly, and again in the sixth on Beckham’s RBI single and Morel’s RBI double.
“They dropped a few balls in there and they took advantage of a few opportunities,” Wedge said. “They’re aggressive and they’ve got a lot of veterans in that lineup. They’re good at making adjustments and good at taking what you give them. It was one of those days for Doug, and their guy pitched a good ballgame.”
The White Sox had 14 hits off Fister, who’d allowed 14 combined in his previous three starts, two of them victories. He’s 2-4 with a 3.40 earned run average.
“I live or die by contact. Do that and there’s a chance balls fall for a hit,” Fister said. “I was a little bit up. I didn’t command the strike zone. They are an aggressive team and the game plan was to use that. It didn’t play out.”
A spectacular play by center fielder Michael Saunders and some solid relief pitching prevented it from being a true blowout.
Saunders robbed A.J. Pierzynski of a home run in the sixth when he leaped and caught the ball above the top of the wall.
Left-hander Aaron Laffey and right-hander Dan Cortes each held the White Sox without any more runs through the eighth, although Tom Wilhelmsen allowed a run in the ninth.
Cortes’ outing in the eighth was noteworthy because it was his first appearance since being called up from Class AAA Tacoma 13 days earlier. The inactivity didn’t show.
The normally high-anxiety reliever with a high-90 mph fastball dialed himself down and got three ground-ball outs around Alex Rios’ one-out single.
“I was a little bit nervous,” Cortes said. “I used my breathing technique.”
His first pitch was a 91 mph fastball that Pierzynski took for a strike. He later threw a few at 96 mph.
“I felt like it was my first big-league game again,” Cortes said. “I remember what (closer David) Aardsma said, always throw strike one.”
Wedge had been looking nearly two weeks for a non-stress situation to get Cortes into a game but never found the opportunity. He said he’d never let one of his pitchers go that long without work.
“I don’t think he could have done a better job for not being out there in that period of time,” Wedge said.
“He was under control. He didn’t try to blow them away.”
White Sox 6, Mariners 0
E—Konerko (2). LOB—Chicago 9, Seattle 6. 2B—A.Dunn (3), Rios (5), Morel (5). RBIs—Pierre (9), A.Dunn (13), Konerko (27), Teahen (4), Beckham (10), Morel (8). SB—I.Suzuki (11). CS—Rios (2). SF—A.Dunn. RLISP—Chicago 6, Seattle 2. RMU—A.Dunn, Beckham. GIDP—Al.Ramirez, Pierzynski. DP—Seattle 3.
|Floyd W, 4-2||8||3||0||0||2||6||3.67|
|Fister L, 2-4||52/3||14||5||5||0||1||3.40|
IR-S—Laffey 1-0. HBP—Pierre 2. T—2:38. A—26,288 (47,878).