Pair of solo homers boost Mariners in Chicago

Pair of solo homers boost Mariners in Chicago

CHICAGO -- Taijuan Walker limited the White Sox to three hits over 6 1/3 innings and the Seattle bullpen held the rest of the way during a 2-0 Mariners victory Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Walker exited on a 3-2 count to Adam LaRoche in the seventh with what was diagnosed as a cramp in his right hip flexor.

"I feel like we threw a lot of fastballs today," Walker said. "In and out, we were just locating, and that's what really helped us. It seemed like they were cheating on the fastball a little bit, so we tried to go more and more in, and get quick outs."

"I thought he located great," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Walker, who improved to 5-0 against the American League Central this season. "He has a great fastball, but being able to locate, even when we hit it, it was at somebody. I thought breaking stuff was good, but just locating the fastball. He has something on it, raising the eye level, getting the low strike, raising it up. We just couldn't get anything going off him."

The White Sox eventually loaded the bases in the seventh against reliever Carson Smith, but pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck grounded into an inning-ending double play, from third baseman Kyle Seager to catcher Jesus Sucre to first baseman Logan Morrison.

Mariners turn a big double play

Seager accounted for one of the two runs off of White Sox starter John Danks with a solo blast to right leading off the sixth. Franklin Gutierrez followed two batters later with a solo shot to left. Danks yielded the two runs on seven hits over six, striking out five and not issuing a walk. The deficit could have been greater for the White Sox if not for the Mariners finishing 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and leaving 10 runners on base. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said his team was "lucky to win" the game, given its struggles with runners in scoring position.

Gutierrez's solo shot

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
We have lift off: Having struggled with runners in scoring position for five innings, the Mariners finally scored on two solo shots in the sixth. Seager led off the inning with a blast to right field, his second hit in the game after he was removed from the starting lineup on Thursday. Gutierrez connected on his third hit with his home run to left.

Thursday was just the third time Seager was held out of the starting lineup this season, and he used the time well to break a 2-for-27 scuffle.

"I had been feeling better," Seager said. "I was getting in a little bit better position at the end of the homestand. I was working with [hitting coach] Edgar [Martinez] to try and shorten everything up and get it right."

Seager's solo homer

Soto rejects advancement: After just missing a home run by a few feet foul on a 3-2 pitch from Danks, Morrison opened the fifth with a double over the head of left fielder Melky Cabrera. But Morrison didn't stay there long. White Sox catcher Geovany Soto picked off Morrison from second, as Morrison strayed too far in a bunt situation with Sucre.

Soto picks off LoMo

Streak snapped: Nelson Cruz saw his 37-game streak reaching base come to an end on Friday after he finished 0-for-5. The right fielder entered with a .386 on-base percentage -- good for ninth in the Majors -- but could not capitalize on two opportunities late in the game. Cruz's best chance came in the seventh inning with the bases loaded, but the American League home run leader struck out to end the threat. He couldn't keep the streak alive in the ninth when he was unable to work a walk on full count.

Early trouble avoided: Ketel Marte reached on a throwing error by Ramirez and Seager followed with a single to right to open things for the Mariners in the first. But Danks needed just three pitches to escape the jam, retiring Cruz on a popup and Robinson Cano on a first-pitch double-play grounder.

QUOTABLE
"That's why we haven't been winning. If we played more consistent all the way around, we'd be in a lot better position than we are now." -- Danks

Danks' solid start

"I haven't [had an injury like that], that's why I was a little shocked, a little scared, when I went down. It was just tight, just kind of grabbed. It was tight for couple seconds and then it was good." -- Walker, on his injury

Walker leaves with an injury

HOME IS WHERE DANKS SUCCEEDS
Danks entered Friday's start with a 4-3 record and 3.45 ERA over his 12 starts at home, compared to a 2-8 record and 6.48 ERA over 12 starts on the road. Including Friday, four of Danks' last five starts at home have been of the quality variety. Friday marked the first time in those five that Danks allowed two runs or more.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon hesitated a moment before challenging a call in the seventh inning, and his decision paid off when officials determined Morrison was safe at second base. Second-base umpire Tim Welke originally called Morrison out on a neighborhood play, but the call was overturned when replay showed second baseman Carlos Sanchez did not touch the base.

LoMo safe at second after replay

WHAT'S NEXT
Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma aims to rebound after one of his roughest starts of the season when he takes on the White Sox on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field. Iwakuma was tagged for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings after allowing six runs across five starts in August. First pitch is slated for 4:10 p.m. PT.

White Sox: Jeff Samardzija tries to avoid his first winless month since April 2014 as he takes five straight losses into Saturday's 6:10 p.m. CT first pitch against the Mariners. Samardzija is 0-5 with a 9.00 ERA in August.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.