SEATTLE -- In a finish to a game that baseball fans just don't see very often, Adam Lind's pinch-hit two-out, three-run home run in a four-run bottom of the ninth inning stunned the White Sox and thrilled the Safeco Field crowd in a wild, improbable 4-3 Mariners victory on Monday night. After White Sox ace Chris Sale dominated Seattle for eight innings, Chicago closer David Robertson could not shut the door in the ninth, and Lind's blast sealed it for Seattle.
"It's really easy to give up, say, 'Ah this isn't our night,' and move on," manager Scott Servais said. "And we don't do that. This club doesn't do that."
Trailing 3-0 heading into the final frame, Franklin Gutierrez singled off Robertson, and Robinson Cano hit into a fielder's choice forceout. After a Nelson Cruz walk and a Dae-Ho Lee strikeout got Seattle down to its final out, Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager singled in a run. Then Lind came to the plate, and on the second pitch of his at-bat, he slammed a 92 mph cutter over the wall in right center field in front of a mesmerized, giddy crowd of 20,598.
"[Sale] did what an ace does," Robertson said. "He went eight innings, didn't give up any runs, and I went in there and just blew it. I pitched poorly. I gave up hits, I walked guys and I didn't get the job done. It's pathetic on my part."
The late turn of events nullified a narrative that had built over eight innings in which Sale was the story for being in line to become the Major Leagues' first 15-game winner in 2016. Meanwhile, Chicago's offense was on its way to doing just enough to support him. The White Sox had been struggling of late but came to life in the first inning when shortstop Tim Anderson, the second batter of the game, belted a pitch from Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc into the upper deck in left field to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Todd Frazier made it 3-0 with a two-run homer in the fourth.
Sale gave up a base hit to the second batter he faced in the opening frame, Mariners right fielder Gutierrez, but was otherwise brilliant and efficient, throwing only 100 pitches despite walking three batters and hitting two. Still, White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected to pull him in favor of Robertson for the ninth. More >
"I think in the last couple of innings, hitting a couple of guys, walking the leadoff guy … he ended up getting out of it, but I thought he had done his job at that point," Ventura said.
LeBlanc turned in a quality start himself, going seven innings and giving up three runs on nine hits while striking out six, and Seattle relievers Vidal Nuno (scoreless eighth) and David Rollins (shutout ninth) allowed the Mariners offense and Lind to come up big with the walk-off drama. More >
"That's why you play the game," Lind said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Anderson starts it off: The White Sox came into the game having scored runs in only one of their previous 41 innings, but Anderson began to reverse that trend early. The rookie shortstop slammed his sixth homer of the year, snapping a personal 0-for-11 streak and giving Sale a 1-0 lead with which to work.
O'Malley's got hops:Mariners shortstop Shawn O'Malley made a leaping backhand catch on Jose Abreu's line drive in the fifth to rob him of a base hit. That was the second out of a 1-2-3 inning. O'Malley has filled various holes in the Mariners' lineup all season, showing his defensive versatility in both the infield and the outfield.
Frazier goes yard: Frazier seized on the offensive momentum provided by Anderson early and extended Chicago's lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning with a two-run home run to dead center field off LeBlanc. The blast was Frazier's 26th of the season and first since the All-Star break, when he lost to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton in the final round of the Home Run Derby.
Scoreless eighth: Mariners reliever Vidal Nuno kept the White Sox bats at bay in the eighth inning with the backing of a tight defense. The right-hander retired the side in order. Center fielder Leonys Martin made a sliding catch on cleanup hitter Melky Cabrera's shallow fly ball for the first out of the inning. Martin also caught Frazier's fly ball, and Seager handled Brett Lawrie's hot ground ball.
"It was supposed to be a cutter away. It just ended up right down the middle and he put it the seats." -- Robertson on the pitch Lind hit for the game-winning home run
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Lefty All-Star Jose Quintana (7-8, 3.21 ERA) takes the hill for the White Sox in Tuesday's game at Safeco for his first outing since the All-Star break. Quintana is 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA over his last 11 starts after going 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA over his first seven. He is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA over six career games (five starts) vs. Seattle.
Mariners: Left-hander Wade Miley (6-6, 5.44 ERA) gets the ball for the Mariners on Tuesday and will try to break out of a personal slump. Miley has lost his last four games started since June 12 and has given up 14 earned runs on 28 hits in 21 innings over that span. Miley is 1-2 with a 6.52 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox.