While the Chicago White Sox’s inexperience in the bullpen could be a concern down the stretch, production from their veteran sluggers is a good reason to be confident.
Chicago seemed like it was going to cruise to an easy win Friday, up 7-2 in the ninth, but the bullpen gave up six runs with rookie closer Addison Reed blowing his fourth save.
Chicago (69-55), which was coming off a three-game sweep of New York, increased its lead over Detroit in the AL Central to 2 1/2 games.
“From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in about a two-minute span,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “Obviously it was a huge win, not only for the way that it happened because of everything that’s going on with the pennant race and everything. It’s a huge team win.
“We feel bad because of the way we blew it, but you feel great because of the way we won it.”
The White Sox continue to play well against the Mariners, winning 22 of the last 26 meetings while going 6-1 against them this year.
Dunn is leading an offensive surge as Chicago has hit 41 homers in the last 20 games. Dunn, who struck out a club-record 178th time Wednesday - breaking the mark he set last season - has seven homers in his last 11 games and a league-leading 38 this season.
The runs seem to come particularly easy against the Mariners (61-65), who have allowed seven or more in five of the meetings between the clubs this year.
Seattle had won eight straight prior to Friday’s loss, all at home. Its pitching staff had a 1.50 ERA during the streak, but Jason Vargas only went four innings Friday, allowing six runs and seven hits.
“Obviously went back and forth, but to come back down five runs down and score six against a good team like we’re playing, it says a lot about our guys and how far they’ve come,” manager Eric Wedge said.
The Mariners will try to bounce back against Jose Quintana (5-2, 2.76 ERA), who has allowed two runs in each of his last three starts.
He gave up nine hits and walked four in seven innings and didn’t factor in a 5-2 loss at Kansas City on Sunday.
The left-hander pitched two-thirds of an inning of relief against the Mariners on June 2.
Quintana will want to pitch carefully to Jesus Montero, who is 6 for 15 in his last three games against the White Sox. He hit his second homer in the season series Friday.
Blake Beavan (8-7, 5.00) will counter for Seattle after going 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA in his last six starts. The right-hander limited Minnesota to one run and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-1 victory Sunday.
Beavan faced the White Sox on April 21, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-0 win opposite Philip Humber’s perfect game.