SEATTLE (AP)—For the next three weeks, the Seattle Mariners get the chance to prove their surprising run so far is no fluke.
And the Mariners enter their most difficult stretch of the season on a roll.
Guillen and the Mariners—leading the wild card by a half-game over the Yankees and two games back of the Angels in the AL West—will play 17 of their next 20 games on the road, with the likes of Detroit, New York and Los Angeles looming on the schedule.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see,” Guillen said. “This is the time everybody has to be ready and rested because every game is going to be very important.”
Guillen, known for his fiery attitude and run-ins at previous stops in his career, has been a model citizen in the clubhouse and the punch missing from Seattle’s offense in recent seasons.
His homer on the first pitch from Jon Garland was his 17th of the season, clanging off the fence in the back of the White Sox bullpen. Adrian Beltre added a solo shot two batters later, and everyone in the Mariners’ lineup except for Raul Ibanez and Jose Lopez had at least one hit by the time Garland was pulled with two outs in the third.
“This is a team where it isn’t one guy doing everything, carrying the team,” Guillen said. “You guys can see, every day it’s a different player. Everybody is contributing.”
Garland (8-9) gave up 10 hits and 10 runs—only five were earned—and fell to 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in his four starts this month. It was the second time Garland failed to last three innings this month, getting pulled after just four outs against the Yankees on Aug. 2.
The White Sox have lost eight straight for the first time since May 15-23, 2001, and went winless on a road trip of more than six games for the first time since the 1991 season.
“Besides a bad game, it was a bad road trip,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “When you go on a road trip and your closer shows up in one game, that’s how bad we played on this road trip. Our club is real frustrated.”
Already up 3-0, Seattle added two more in the second on Guillen’s two-out, broken-bat single, then took advantage of shortstop Juan Uribe’s error for five unearned runs in the third, sending 11 batters to the plate.
With a runner on and two outs, Uribe bobbled Jamie Burke’s chopper, keeping the inning alive. Seattle then rattled off three straight hits to end Garland’s day, including an RBI double by Yuniesky Betancourt and a two-run single from Ichiro Suzuki.
“(Garland) got in trouble one time and his teammates don’t help,” Ozzie Guillen said.
Guillen added a sacrifice fly in the fifth after a Suzuki triple. Suzuki finished with three hits.
Seattle starter Felix Hernandez (9-6) gave up four earned runs and 10 hits, but lasted into the seventh for his third straight victory. Hernandez has benefited from tremendous run support, getting at least seven runs from his offense in four of his last five starts.
Hernandez also was backed by great defense, getting the White Sox to ground into double plays in each of the first three innings, including a pair by Jermaine Dye to end the first and third.
“That what I have to do is fight, and fight and fight when you don’t have all your stuff under control,” Hernandez said.
The Mariners’ only home dates in their next 20 games is a three-game set against the Angels from Aug. 27-30. The stretch begins at Minnesota on Monday, then to Texas. Seattle also will play at Toronto, the Yankees and Detroit, and squeeze in a makeup in Cleveland on what was supposed to be one of two days off in the next three weeks.
“It’s off to Minnesota and let’s get something going there,” Seattle manager John McLaren said.
Guillen’s last five-RBI game came against Seattle, when Guillen played for the Angels on July 23, 2004. Sunday was the sixth time Guillen has driven in five runs. … Garland had been outstanding against Seattle, going 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his previous nine starts against the Mariners.