Strike one key to Jones' strong effort

Strike one key to Jones' strong effort

SEATTLE -- Over Nate Jones' last 15 outings, he has posted a 1-3 record with a 6.97 ERA. Those inauspicious totals included Jones' perfect 2 1/3 innings of relief work Tuesday, resulting in a career-high five strikeouts with just 25 pitches, and another two perfect innings in Wednesday's 7-5 victory in 16 innings, while striking out three over 28 pitches.

Strike one was the key to the right-hander's effort against the Mariners.

"Yeah, I reckon so," said Jones, who threw 20 of his 25 pitches for strikes. "Once you get that in there, it kind of gets in their heads like 'Oh, he's throwing strikes.'

"I was able to throw the slider a lot more and it was working for strikes, too. I threw in a couple changeups and just kept them off balance."

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper stood firmly in Jones' corner during these rough times, based on Jones' ability and his 8-0 showing with a 2.39 ERA last season, which the young hurler truly appreciated.

"Whenever the coaches have your back, it makes you want to work even harder and fight even more. so it's a good feeling," Jones said. "It's a little bit frustrating because I felt like every time out I was feeling good and I was making certain pitches.

"It was just that one pitch they would punish all the time and I was getting frustrated at that. It was frustrating, but it was good last night."

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