A.J. Pierzynski and the Chicago White Sox are still chasing the AL Central-leading Tigers, no matter how slim their chances are.
Pierzynski hit a two-run, go-ahead single in the seventh inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 6-3 on Tuesday night cutting the Tigers‘ division lead to 5 1/2 games with 17 to play.
“(The score) is up on the scoreboard, so of course you look,” Pierzynski said. “Being on the West Coast is odd because their game is over before ours even starts. But you know, you would have to be lying to yourself if you say you don’t look.”
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The White Sox are a game behind the second-place Minnesota Twins, who beat the Indians. Detroit fell to the lowly Kansas City Royals, 11-1.
“I think when the offense works, our team looks a lot better,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 626th home run – 15th this season – for the Mariners in the second, a drive to right-center that landed about 20 rows up in the stands. It came off former Seattle ace Freddy Garcia, the 404th pitcher to give up a homer to Griffey.
Kenji Johjima then doubled and Mike Carp followed with an RBI single. In the third, Jose Lopez added an run-scoring grounder for a 3-0 lead.
The White Sox responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Ian Snell, who was sharp early, gave up a leadoff single to Pierzynski and then walked Paul Konerko. Mark Kotsay laced a double to right for two runs. But Snell then got three straight outs to escape further damage.
In the seventh, Shawn Kelley (4-3) gave up a pair of singles to start the inning. The White Sox then scored three times for a 5-3 lead, taking advantage of a shaky Seattle bullpen. Pierzynski got his hit off Mark Lowe.
“This game is a lot about the bullpen,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “The last three innings – eight hits, three runs. You win games by getting your closer in the ballgame. We have to allow Lowe to pitch the eighth and (closer David) Aardsma the ninth.”
Despite earning the win, Garcia (2-2) looked nothing like the power pitcher Mariners fans came to know during his 5 1/2 years in Seattle. Now the two-time All Star is trying to rely more on his control, having lost much of his velocity to shoulder surgery in 2007. Against the Mariners, Garcia topped out at 90-mph and lasted six innings, giving up three runs.
Octavio Dotel got two outs and Matt Thornton pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings before Bobby Jenks, worked an inning for his 29th save, striking out Lopez to end the game.
The Mariners lost two players to injury. Shortstop Jack Wilson departed in the seventh with a bruised right heel. he was hurt scrambling to first base to beat out an infield single. Utility player Bill Hall had to leave when he pulled up with a cramp in his right quadriceps. Hall said he could play in the Mariners next game, but Wilson is day to day.
The Mariners activated RHP Carlos Silva from the disabled list. To make room for the pitcher on the 40-man roster, the team transferred Sean White to the 60-day DL. Silva has not pitched since May 6. … Before the game, the Mariners honored Ichiro for getting his 2,000th hit and for reaching the feat of 200 hits for the ninth consecutive season – a feat he secured during the Mariners last road trip in Texas.