August 25, 2012 in Sports

Mariners’ rally overshadowed

Eight-game streak lost to outfield collision
 
Associated Press photo

Seattle can’t hang on as the ball pops from the glove of Eric Thames, left, as he collides with Michael Saunders.
(Full-size photo)

CHICAGO – Not even a six-run ninth inning could keep Seattle’s winning streak alive.

After the Mariners erased a 7-2 deficit in the top of the ninth, Paul Konerko’s single with one out in the bottom half – his third hit of the game – gave the Chicago White Sox a dramatic 9-8 victory Friday night.

The Chicago bullpen imploded before the offense rallied for two runs in the bottom half to snap Seattle’s eight-game winning streak.

“It was a great comeback by our guys, that’s what I’m thinking about right now,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “It was an emotional last inning. Obviously, went back and forth, but to come back down five runs and score six against a good team like we’re playing, it says a lot about our guys and how far they’ve come.”

Kevin Youkilis singled to drive in the tying run off Tom Wilhelmsen (4-3), and Konerko lined a gapper to the opposite field. Right fielder Eric Thames appeared to briefly catch the ball before he collided with center fielder Michael Saunders near the wall. The ball catapulted from Thames’ glove and Dewayne Wise crossed the plate.

“It’s tough because it was so loud and communication (was hard),” Thames said. “I had a pretty good bead on it. I looked up and I saw (Saunders) running and I went for it and I caught it, but my elbow hit him and it was a pretty bad collision. I caught it, spun around and the ball (went flying).

“It’s rough because we put up that six spot in the ninth inning. Our dugout erupted when Saunders scored.”

Addison Reed (3-1) earned the win despite blowing his fourth save.

Adam Dunn hit two home runs to increase his major league-leading total to 38 and Alexei Ramirez homered and drove in three runs for Chicago.

Jesus Montero homered off Phil Humber leading off the ninth for Seattle. After a one-out walk, Humber was relieved by Donnie Veal, who allowed a double to Trayvon Robinson.

Reed was summoned and promptly walked Brendan Ryan to load the bases. Dustin Ackley followed with a two-run single, Saunders walked, and Kyle Seager hit a sacrifice fly. John Jaso tied the game with a single over second baseman Gordon Beckham’s head.

Saunders then scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw by right fielder Alex Rios to give Seattle the 8-7 lead.

Seattle has dropped 22 of its last 26 games against the White Sox, spanning the last three seasons.

Dunn hit a solo homer in the first inning and a two-run shot in the third off Seattle southpaw Jason Vargas.

Ramirez went deep in the fourth inning to give the White Sox a 6-2 lead.

“They just didn’t miss a mistake,” Vargas said.

Ackley jumped on Peavy immediately with a first-pitch double leading off the game and came around to score on Saunders’ RBI single.

Robinson hit a solo home run in the second inning. The shot to dead center field was his first of the season, but Peavy put up zeros the next five frames as the Mariners suffered just their second loss in 12 contests.

Robinson and Ackley had three hits apiece and Ackley drove in two runs.

Vargas went just four innings, his shortest stint of the season. He allowed six runs and seven hits, three of them homers.

Vargas was 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA over his previous 10 starts.


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