|Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki, of Japan, wipes his face during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Friday, June 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)|
Mariners struggle in the field, lose to White Sox
CHICAGO—One of the best defensive teams in the majors cost itself with a rough eighth inning.
Seattle center fielder Michael Saunders dropped a fly ball, shortstop Brendan Ryan didn't make the play on an infield grounder and the Chicago White Sox scored three unearned runs to beat the Mariners 7-4 Friday night.
Alexei Ramirez drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out infield single and Chicago won its ninth straight.
Seattle entered the game with a .989 fielding percentage, tied for tops in all of baseball.
Paul Konerko led off the eighth with a fly ball to center that glanced off Saunders' glove and then hit him in the face for a two-base error.
"I didn't take my eye off it, I wasn't running over there lazily," Saunders said. "Just one of those things. ... I feel horrible. This loss, I'm taking blame for this tonight."
With two outs and runners at the corners, Ramirez hit a slow grounder to Ryan. Ramirez beat the throw when Ryan couldn't make a clean transfer to his throwing hand and pinch runner Brent Lillibridge scored.
"If it was perfect (I had a shot), but when I got it I didn't know where it was," Ryan said. "I couldn't feel it so I didn't know if I was juggling it or I had it in my mitt."
Alejandro De Aza followed with a two-run single.
Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his seventh save in as many chances. Jesse Crain (1-0) got the win. Shawn Kelly (0-2) took the loss.
Held to a puny single and two walks through the first six innings, the Mariners, who scored 21 runs in Wednesday's win over Texas, rallied with two runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings to wipe out a 4-0 deficit.
Chicago starter Jake Peavy didn't allow a hit through four innings before Justin Smoak's pop in front of the plate for a single leading off the fifth went for a single.
Dustin Ackley opened the seventh with a double down the left-field line and Kyle Seager followed with a two-run homer.
Seager had an RBI single off Matt Thornton in the eighth to bring the Mariners within 4-3 and Smoak delivered a game-tying single off Crain.
Beckham hit a two-run shot in the first. He and Dunn had back-to-back homers in the fifth to build Chicago's lead.
Peavy gave up three hits, two runs, walked three and struck out four in 6 1-3 innings.
"It's nice to find a way to win that one after giving up the lead late to be able to bounce back and catch a break and then squeak one out," he said.
"Obviously we caught some breaks tonight but had some great at-bats versus a tough pitcher like Felix. Got an early lead. I wasn't nearly as efficient as I should have been by any means," he said.
Mariners starter Felix Hernandez gave up five hits and four runs in five innings with four walks and six strikeouts. He tweaked his back delivering a pitch in the second inning, but said he felt fine after the game.
Seattle's ace has lost four of his last five starts.
"I couldn't finish my fastball," Hernandez said. "The ball was doing nothing. It was up, it was in the middle. Just the fastball, the breaking ball was pretty good. I got to have my fastball to have a good game."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge didn't want to take any chances with his top starter.
"He slipped on one of his pitches out there and tweaked his back a little,"Wedge said. "Because of that it looked like he was having trouble getting the ball down a little bit after that and we got him out of there."
NOTES: Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki returned to the leadoff spot for the first time this season after batting third in 52 games. ... Chicago LHP John Danks, on the DL with a left shoulder strain, threw 20 pitches on the side and said he felt fine and was making progress. Danks will have another side session Sunday. ... A crowd of 19,168 was announced with a gametime temperature of 57 degrees. ... Thornton's appearance was his 425th in relief for the White Sox, setting a franchise record that he'd shared with Bobby Thigpen.