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White Sox 4, Mariners 1: Seattle’s designs foiled

Exploited defensive shifts drive series victory against wild card hopeful

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

After this weekend, the Mariners might think they’ve been reading their spray charts backwards.

The White Sox offense couldn’t do much today, but they made use of the two scoring opportunities they had by finding ample green space in the outfield for a couple of two-run frames. That was more than enough for Carlos Rodon and the White Sox bullpen, who were able to work out of the two jams that they encountered.

The result: a satisfying series victory. Even Chris Sale made the one loss enjoyable by striking out 14.

Taijuan Walker was perfect through three, but he opened the door when he drilled Adam Eaton to start the inning. Two batters later, Melky Cabrera hit a routine fly to right toward the line, but it was well out of the reach of Franklin Gutierrez, who was shifted toward left. It dropped in for a double that moved Eaton to third, and reminded everybody how Justin Morneau notched his first triple on Saturday.

Speaking of Morneau, he followed by shooting a grounder through the vacated shortstop hole for a 2-0 lead.

It turned out that was all the offense Rodon and friends needed. He threw the ball well, finishing a strong August with six innings of one-run ball. The run came on a sixth-inning Robinson Cano homer, but he allowed just four other hits and walk while striking out six.

He could’ve fared worse, but he stranded Kyle Seager in the second after his one-out triple by striking out Gutierrez and Mike Zunino. Likewise, he departed in the seventh after allowing Seager and Gutierrez to reach on singles, but flawless execution by all sorts of White Sox got him off the hook.

First, Todd Frazier aggressively charged Zunino’s bunt attempt and fired to second for the force. While Zunino was a step too fast for the double play, it did keep a future one in order. That was the only pitch Chris Beck threw, as Robin Ventura called for Dan Jennings when Scott Servais called for Adam Lind off the bench.

Jennings did his job by getting a grounder to the right side, and while Tyler Saladino had to range to his left, he was able to spin on one knee and fire to second, starting an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. That allowed Rodon to stay in line for his fifth win, and Nate Jones and David Robertson carried it across the finish line.

Robertson had to work around a couple of soft singles, but he had the benefit of a margin the Sox built in the eighth. Anderson started by winning an eight-pitch battle with Walker, singling to left on a full count. He then stole second easily, and came around to score when Cabrera foiled a defensive alignment for the second time. He shot a line drive to the vast right-center gap for a triple, and then threw his body around for the second time in as many bases when he scored on Abreu’s medium-range sac fly to right.

Bullet points:

*Eaton left the game with a bruised forearm, and Abreu took two HBPs as well.

*The White Sox scored four runs on just five hits, including a 2-for-5 performance with runners in scoring position.

Record: 63-66 | Box score | Highlights