CHICAGO (AP)—Gordon Beckham’s first multihomer game got the Chicago White Sox going Friday night. What they needed to finish off the Seattle Mariners and extend their winning streak to nine games was a big break in the eighth inning.
It came when center fielder Michael Saunders dropped Paul Konerko’s fly ball for a two-base error, leading to three unearned runs and a 7-4 victory. The victory streak is Chicago’s longest since it won nine in a row in July 2010.
“Right now we’re on a good roll,” Beckham said. “It’s first of June. We’re doing the right things coming to work every day and hoping it’s enough. The last week and a half it’s been enough. You just can’t get complacent because this game will humble you really quickly.”
It sure did humble Saunders, who missed the routine fly ball after the Mariners had rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game.
“Just a lazy little line drive in to center. Just kind of moved on me last second, and I guess everyone saw I got hit in the face,” Saunders said.
“I didn’t take my eye off it. I wasn’t running over there lazily. Just one of those things. … I feel horrible. This loss, I’m taking blame for this tonight.”
“Those got us going a little bit, but the guys in the eighth inning did all the work,” Beckham said. “You got to credit that. That was pretty awesome to come back and win like that after they tied it up.”
With the game tied at 4-4 after the Mariners had rallied with a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, Konerko led off with a fly and the ball glanced off center fielder Saunders’ glove and then hit him in the face.
With two outs and runners at the corners, Alexei Ramirez hit a slow grounder to shortstop Brendan Ryan and beat the throw for an infield single as pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge scored to break the tie. Alejandro De Aza added a two-run single.
Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his seventh save in as many chances.
Jesse Crain (1-0) got the win. Shawn Kelly (0-2) took the loss.
Held to a puny single and two walks through the first six innings, the Mariners rallied with two runs each in the seventh and eighth innings to wipe out a 4-0 deficit.
Chicago starter Jake Peavy didn’t allow a hit through four innings before Justin Smoak’s pop in front of the plate for a single leading off the fifth went for a single. Dustin Ackley opened the seventh with a double down the left-field line and Kyle Seager followed with a two-run homer.
Seager had an RBI single off Matt Thornton in the eighth to bring the Mariners within 4-3 and Smoak delivered a game-tying single off Crain before the White Sox had a rally of their own.
“It’s nice to find a way to win that one after giving up the lead late to be able to bounce back and catch a break and then squeak one out,” Peavy said.
“We’re just going to ride it, grind it out hard. Obviously we caught some breaks tonight but had some great at-bats versus a tough pitcher like Felix.”
Beckham hit a two-run shot in the first. He and Dunn had back-to-back homers in the fifth.
Peavy gave up three hits, two runs, walked three and struck out four in 6 1-3 innings.
Beckham’s sixth homer was a liner down the left-field line that scored De Aza, who’d been hit by a pitch leading off the first.
After Beckham connected with two outs in the fifth, Dunn sent one down the line in right for his 17th home run of the season.
Hernandez gave up five hits and four runs in five innings with four walks and six strikeouts.
“I slipped on the mound in the second inning making a pitch.I couldn’t finish my fastball. … The ball was doing nothing, It was up, it was in the middle,” Hernandez said.
“He slipped on one of his pitches out there and tweaked his back a little,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “Because of that it looked like he was having trouble getting the ball down a little bit after that and we got him out of there.”
When Smoak hit the high pop in front of the plate in the fifth, Chicago catcher Pierzynski stepped out to make the catch with Peavy coming off the mound. The ball dropped just out of Pierzynski’s reach without him touching it for Seattle’s first hit.
NOTES: Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki returned to the leadoff spot for the first time this season after batting third in 52 games. … Chicago LHP John Danks, on the DL with a left shoulder strain, threw 20 pitches on the side and said he felt fine and was making progress. Danks will have another side session Sunday. … A crowd of 19,168 was announced with a gametime temperature of 57 degrees. … Thornton’s appearance was his 425th in relief for the White Sox, setting a franchise record that he’d shared with Bobby Thigpen.