CHICAGO (AP)—Here’s one way to interrupt White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen while he is watching a Spanish soap opera: hit a ninth-inning home run.
After being ejected in the top half of the ninth for arguing a ground-rule double call that led to two runs, Guillen was watching TV in his office when Paul Konerko(notes) homered with one out. He then watched as Alex Rios(notes) hit Chicago’s second straight game-ending homer to beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4 on Saturday.
“I’m not going to get in trouble … I was watching a soap opera from Telemundo. I did. Then I saw the (replay) of Konerko’s home run and from my office I could see the clubhouse,” Guillen said. “When I see kids screaming in the clubhouse I came on out. I didn’t want them to watch the end of the game without me.
“I think I found the trick, I think they play better without Ozzie managing,” he added. “I think they swing the bat better.”
Trailing 4-2 in the ninth with one out, Konerko hit a solo home run off Mariners closer David Aardsma(notes) (0-1). With two outs, Carlos Quentin(notes) walked. Then, a day after Andruw Jones(notes) hit a game-ending home run, Rios hit a 1-1 pitch in the left-field bleachers to win it.
The White Sox won back-to-back games with game-ending home runs for the first since J.C. Martin and Ken Berry did it in a doubleheader against Cleveland on July 25, 1967, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
With two outs, Jose Lopez(notes) single off White Sox closer Bobby Jenks(notes). After a walk to Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) Kotchman lined a double down the right-field line. A fan picked up the ball and dropped it back on the field.
First base umpire Gary Cederstrom declared the play dead as Lopez scored. But the umpiring crew allowed Jack Wilson(notes), who was pinch running for Griffey, to score from first to give Seattle a 4-2 lead.
Guillen argued with third base umpire Fieldin Culbrethl and was ejected for using foul language.
“I’m not the type of manager to go out and see the replay. He made the call and the confusion I had, he might have got it right, he might not, but the confusion I had was it was like he had Superman’s eyes,” Guillen said. The ball was in the corner and all of the sudden he was watching the runner and the ball, that’s pretty good. Wrong or right, that was my argument.”
Culbreth said discretion was used in determining if Wilson should score.
“The ball was hit down the right field line. I had my positioning to where I could see the runner and the guy who eventually interfered with the ball,” Culbreth said. “In my judgment and what they have in the rule is that if interference occurs, it’s up to the umpires to place runners where they think they would have been had interference not occurred.
“The ball was down deep into the corner. I could see that the right fielder had yet to get to the ball as well. With the positioning of the runner, I felt that he would have scored had interference not occurred,” Culbreth said.
Jenks (1-0) got his first win after pitching the ninth.
“Aardsma had 16 straight saves going into today. You expect to win that ballgame,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. “He got some pitches up in the zone but he’s been awfully consistent for us. He left some pitches up and got hurt.”
The Mariners allowed back-to-games game-ending homers for the first time since Aug. 23-24, 2002, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
“Who cares about Konerko, he hits a home run, he can hit it out of the stadium. I don’t even care. It’s a two-run ballgame. They have to get another one. That walk, that’s the out I gotta get,” Aardsma said. “I gave up three runs. That’s all I’m thinking about.”
With two outs in the fifth, Rios singled off Fister. After Rios stole second, Mark Teahen(notes) hit a single to right. With Ichiro Suzuki’s(notes) strong arm in right, Rios was held up at third base. Ramirez followed with a long fly to left. Seattle outfielder Eric Byrnes(notes) propped up against the wall and the ball deflected off his mitt. The ball bounced off the top of fence and came back into the playing field.
Rios scored and Teahen scored from first to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead. Ramirez wound up at second base with his third double of the season.
Guillen briefly questioned the call, but went back to the dugout after he got an explanation from Culbreth and no replay was necessary.
Garcia pitched seven innings and allowed two runs and two hits.
NOTES: Wilson was out of Saturday’s starting lineup with an injured right thumb that he sustained while fielding a groundball on Friday. Manager Don Wakamatsu was encouraged by the lack of swelling in Wilson’s thumb and said he could hopefully play on Sunday. … OF Milton Bradley(notes) (calf) is improving but he is unlikely to play Sunday. Wakamatsu said if everything goes well Bradley could play Monday in Kansas City.