CHICAGO (AP)—Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said he’s stopped searching for help from the rest of the league. The White Sox are tumbling toward playoff elimination and he can’t find a way to stop his team’s slide.
The defending World Series champions lost for the seventh time in eight games and trail Minnesota, which fell 7-3 to Baltimore, by 5 1/2 games in the wild-card race with eight games left. They fell seven games behind AL Central leader Detroit, which beat Kansas City 7-3.
One night after saying he was embarrassed by his team’s performance, calling it “pathetic” in a 9-0 loss to the Mariners, Guillen was satisfied with the team’s approach but disappointed in a bullpen that gave up three runs in the final two innings.
“Obviously we have a shot and we gave it away with those two or three runs late in the game,” Guillen said of his relievers. “It’s real bad. I don’t want to go back to the mound. I don’t want to feel embarrassed. You go back and forth and every time I go there I hear the boos. We have to get better.”
Chicago starter Jose Contreras had to leave after straining his right hamstring while covering first base in the second inning. Contreras (13-9), who is 4-9 in the second half, gave up seven hits and five earned runs in 1 2-3 innings. He might not pitch again this season.
“Right now it’s very tight and painful,” Contreras said. “I’ll pitch again if I feel 100 percent.”
Seattle starter Gil Meche nearly squandered a 6-1 lead. He allowed six hits and five earned runs in 4 1-3 innings as the White Sox rallied from the early deficit, getting within 7-4 on Juan Uribe’s 20th homer in the fourth and eventually cutting it to a run.
Sexson reached 100 RBIs for the sixth time in his career with his first homer, a two-run liner that easily cleared the fence in straightaway center in the second.
He hit his second of the game, and 31st of the season, off reliever Brandon McCarthy in the third, a towering shot to left that landed near the top of the bleachers.
“These are the games we are looking forward to,” Sexson said. “Trying to knock people off and make it tough on them. That’s kind of our motivation.”
When Kenji Johjima grounded to Paul Konerko at first, Contreras ran to the bag to cover but stumbled and fell, grabbing the back of his right leg. Contreras couldn’t catch the flip and Konerko was charged with an error as Suzuki scored the sixth run of the inning.
After a trainer and Guillen came out, Contreras momentarily got to his feet. After stopping a couple of times, he hobbled off the field. He experienced a similar problem in his previous outing in Oakland.
“It was one of those innings where everything worked for us,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “We got two or three broken-bat base hits, which you need to have in those sorts of innings, and we hit the ball hard, too. Good inning for us, bad for the White Sox.”
Jim Thome had an RBI-single in the White Sox’s first after an error on Sexson for missing a throw from third baseman Adrian Beltre. Uribe’s sacrifice fly in the second scored A.J. Pierzynski, who had doubled and moved up on an infield out.
Scott Podsednik’s double and an RBI-single from Jermaine Dye closed the gap to 7-5 in the fifth. After Thome walked, Konerko delivered a run-scoring double to finish Meche and make it 7-6. But Eric O’Flahery got Pierzynski to pop out and Fruto retired Josh Fields on a grounder.
It was the 24th multi-homer game of Sexson’s career and third this season. … Mariners SS Yuniesky Betancourt was unable to play after being hit on the inside of his right knee by a pitch Thursday night.