Entering tonight, the Mariners had lost 19 of their last 22 games at U.S. Cellular Field, and you can see why. No lead is safe, even in bone-chilling cold.
The White Sox battled back from a 6-1 deficit, then almost came back from another two-run hole in the ninth when they tagged Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen for a run. But Tyler Flowers struck out with the bases loaded, and the Mariners could rest easy for 13 hours.
Nate Jones, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth before giving up two weak hits and two strong ones in the 10th, took his first career loss.
The Sox offense was able to get Jose Quintana off the hook. Quintana fell apart in the fifth inning, as the Mariners realized that they could just look inside and swing early, and it worked. The first seven Mariners reached with a variety of well-struck balls and jam shots, and Robin Ventura had to go to Matt Lindstrom in the fifth.
But Lindstrom pitched tremendously, and while he threw 2⅓ perfect innings, the White Sox offense finally woke up against an never-that-impressive Blake Beavan.
Alexei Ramirez started the comeback with an infield single, and moved to third on Flowers' ground-rule double down the line. Gordon Beckham followed with a sac fly, and then Alejandro De Aza came through with a two-run homer in the Mariners' bullpen, cutting Seattle's lead to 6-4. Two batters later, Alex Rios made it a one-run game with a majestic shot on an incredibly hanging slider.
Rios would go on to drive in the tying run in the seventh. After Beckham and De Aza singled and Jeff Keppinger's swinging bunt moved them to third, Rios got a soft grounder past the mound with the infield playing back to bring in Beckham, tying the game at 6.
Adam Dunn came out on the wrong end of two close calls afterward. He smoked a line drive to right, but it was too low, and Michael Saunders was able to run it down before it hooked over his head, stranding the tying run at third.
A Dunn drive also ended up on the warning track in the 10th. After Rios walked to start the inning, Dunn unloaded on a 3-1 fastball over the plate and sent it soaring to right. The wind helped guide a Frankin Gutierrez homer over the right-field wall to start the game, but it was nowhere to be found on Dunn's skyscraper, which fell into Saunders' glove just short of the fence for the first out.
Wilhelmsen wasn't out of the woods. He walked Paul Konerko to bring Dewayne Wise to the plate. Wise entered as a defensive replacement for Dayan Viciedo earlier in the game, but he ended up being a fine offensive switch, too, shooting a single through the right side to make it 8-7. Ramirez drew a walk to load the bases, but a borderline curveball and fastball put Flowers in a hole, and he swung through a heater above the belt to seal Seattle's triumph.
*A Dunn stolen base allowed the Sox to tie the game. He singled off Beavan in the fourth inning for the Sox's first hit, stole second when nobody paid attention, and came around to score on Konerko's single to right.
*Quintana picked off Kyle Seager in the fourth-inning, with the Sox executing a one-pitch rundown.
*The Sox defense looked ragged again in that disastrous fifth. Quintana dropped a Konerko flip with his barehand in an attempt to beat Dustin Ackley to first -- it wasn't a great flip, and Quintana was a bit late. Viciedo slipped on the warning track on a ball along the wall, and made a lousy relay throw to Ramirez when they had a shot at the plate.
*On the other hand, Ramirez did make a slick stab on a sinking screamer at him. Later on, a somewhat sloppy Rios-Beckham relay was fast enough to get the impossibly slow Jesus Montero at home to end the 10th.