Mariners strike early, hold off White Sox

Mariners strike early, hold off White Sox

CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija lost for a sixth time in six August starts, as the Mariners scored three in the first and never relinquished the lead during a 7-6 victory over the White Sox on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field. The game was played under a fairly steady but light rain for most of the night, and the Mariners had to withstand a four-run rally from the White Sox with two outs in the eighth inning.

Kyle Seager's two-run homer put the Mariners on the board just two batters in, as the first four Mariners reached base. Samardzija was ahead at 1-2 on the first two hitters but couldn't put either one away. He finished with eight strikeouts and three walks to go with the five runs allowed over 5 2/3 innings.

"Again, it was a crooked-number homer and it seems to repeat in what we're saying here," Samardzija said. "Obviously, it's unfortunate and it needs to stop happening. I just have to get that ball down going in. You leave it out over the plate and Seager hits it out, that's it."

Hisashi Iwakuma wasn't decidedly better for the Mariners, but managed to pitch out of bases-loaded, two-out situations in the third and the fourth innings. Avisail Garcia topped the White Sox offense with three singles and an RBI, while Robinson Cano had four hits and reached base five times for the Mariners.

"It's always good to get out early, especially with [Iwakuma]," said Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. "To give him that type of lead was important, and he did a really nice job. I don't think he had his best stuff tonight, but he competed well and did a nice job for us."

Cano's four-hit game

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Seager shines: Seager wasted little time to find his place in Mariners history. The third baseman hit his 20th home run of the season in the first inning -- a two-run opposite-field shot -- to become the seventh player with four 20-home run seasons in club history. After being held out of the lineup on Thursday, Seager has homered in back-to-back games.

"That's definitely an accomplishment," Seager said. "I think you strive to be consistent and improve each year, so it's something nice."

Leaving them loaded: After two relatively quiet innings against Iwakuma, the White Sox had their chances in the third and fourth. They loaded the bases with two outs in the third on consecutive walks to Adam Eaton and Tyler Saladino, but Jose Abreu flew out to deep center on a 2-1 pitch. The bases were loaded again in the fourth for Eaton, who grounded out to Cano to end the threat.

Iwakuma escapes the 3rd

Welcome to The Show: Mariners catching prospect John Hicks made his Major League debut, not behind the plate though. Hicks entered the game at third base after Ketel Marte was removed from the game in the eighth inning. Marte left with a mild right-hamstring strain he sustained while running through first base on an RBI groundout.

"It was definitely not how I pictured my debut, but I'm happy to get it out of the way," Hicks said. "When they said third base, it was actually such a surprise that I didn't have the butterflies I thought I would have." More >

Marte's RBI groundout

It all starts with two: Trailing by a 7-2 margin in the eighth inning, the White Sox rallied for four two-out runs. Two key plays in the inning were Mariners catcher Jesus Sucre dropping a foul tip on a J.B. Shuck at-bat, an at-bat where Shuck eventually walked, and then Eaton getting a close 2-2 call from home-plate umpire Tim Timmons in an at-bat where he also walked. Saladino singled home two and Abreu singled home another, before Melky Cabrera grounded out.

"We had a couple of [opportunities]. We had some earlier in the game. We get the bases loaded a few times," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You would like to get a little more out of it. We didn't get it. Even in the eighth, it was building there. We thought [we] would be able to tie it up and as wet as it was, you are hoping something goes your way."

Saladino's two-run single

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Seager was ruled safe at the plate on Cano's double off the right-field wall with one out in the third, a play that could have given the Mariners a 4-0 lead. Ventura challenged the call by Timmons, and video replay overturned the decision as Seager appeared to miss the plate with his front foot and give Tyler Flowers a chance to tag him.

Sanchez nabs Seager at home

McClendon kept the ninth inning alive when he challenged the ruling that Logan Morrison was out at first on a 5-6-3 double play. The call was overturned when Morrison was found to have beaten the relay throw.

Morrison ruled safe at first

CLOCK'S TICKING
The four-hour and 16-minute game was the longest contest for the White Sox this season, including extra-inning games.

WHAT'S NEXT
Mariners: Edgar Olmos makes the spot start for the Mariners when they conclude a four-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday. It's Olmos' first career start after being called up by the Mariners in early August. First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. PT.

White Sox: Jose Quintana completes the seven-game homestand and this four-game set against the Mariners with his 27th start of the season and 13th at home. Fifteen of Quintana's last 17 starts have been of the quality variety. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. CT.

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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.