White Sox fans have known this for years: Give Hector Noesi a little #WILDPITCHOFFENSE, and he'll lead you to a shutout.
Facing the first of two teams to give up on his this year, Noesi threw 6⅔ scoreless innings, pitching over some erratic Gordon Beckham defense to boot. When the relievers arrived, so did the gloves, and Jake Petricka used a few spectacular plays to close out a two-inning save.
White Sox pitching held the Mariners scoreless through eight innings in every game of the series, but the Sox saw it through to the finish today.
Noesi received his only run of support in the first inning when Taijuan Walker wobbled in the first inning. He walked Conor Gillaspie with two outs, Jose Abreu singled him to third, and a high and wide ball four to Adam Dunn glanced off Mike Zunino's mitt and toward the backstop, allowing Gillaspie to score for a quick 1-0 lead.
It looked like Walker might've been poundable, but instead he qualified as effectively wild. He issued five walks over four innings, but he allowed just two hits to limit that damage to a single run.
He had to pitch around some trouble, too. Noesi faced a runner on second and nobody out in the second inning (pop-up, groundout, strikeout). Beckham tried to start a 4-6-3 double play instead of taking the second out in the fourth, but Noesi escaped with a flyout to right and a soft lineout to second.
He gave up a pair of singles with one out in the seventh -- the third and fourth consecutive hard-hit balls -- and Robin Ventura noticed. He took his chances with Noesi against Endy Chavez, which turned into a routine flyout to right. But he didn't let Noesi face Michael Saunders with runners on the corners and nobody out, and instead turned to Eric Surkamp.
Surkamp did what he did yesterday -- walk the first lefty he faced on five pitches without even making him swing the bat. Don Cooper came out to give him some words of wisdom for Robinson Cano, and Surkamp threw a curve over Cano's helmet, inches away from bringing the tying run home. But he got a fastball over to even the count, and Cano flied out on a curve ball to end the threat.
Petricka took it the rest of the way, throwing strikes and letting his defense go to work. Adam Eaton made his second sensational catch in as many games, diving to take a double away from Corey Hart to start the eighth. Beckham than rebounded from his earlier defensive issues by making a ranging play to his right, and Abreu capped it off by making a diving stab on a Logan Morrison grounder, and the flip to Petricka beat him by a half step to end the inning.
Petricka then came back in the ninth, struck out the first two batters he faced, then induced a lineout to left for the rare six-up, six-down save, and the not-so-rare White Sox series victory over the Mariners. They haven't dropped a home series to Seattle since 2007.
*That's the first shutout caught by Adrian Nieto, who helped matters by making a great play on a good bunt by Endy Chavez. He beat Noesi to the ball and fired to first to steal a second out, instead of facing runners on first and second with one out in the fifth.
*Gillaspie left the game after taking a fastball to his knee. It's just the second HBP of his career.
*Second base umpire Dana Demuth also had to leave the game early, as Beckham ran into him after he couldn't corral either a hard grounder to his backhand side, or Eaton's throw to second. Instead, he barged into Demuth, with his knee knocking the umpire's, and Demuth limped off the field after the inning.