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Mariners snap skid with extra-inning win over Sox

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- It went from a pitcher's duel to an offensive bonanza to a battle of the bullpens to an extra-inning nail-biter on Friday night at frigid U.S. Cellular Field.

Five relievers allowed just two runs through five innings and made the difference for the Seattle Mariners, who snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Chicago White Sox 8-7 in 10 innings with the temperatures in the low 30s all game.

Last season the Mariners lost eight of nine games against the White Sox, including five of the six played in this stadium.

"We don't look at that," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said afterward. "We've got a completely different cast of characters here. I guarantee none of them know that. What we're trying to do is win series and you get that first win of a series and it goes a long way heading in the right direction."

Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen made it interesting in the bottom of the 10th by walking three, allowing a run and loading the bases with two outs. He got out of it, recording his second save, by striking out Tyler Flowers on three pitches -- a first-pitch curve followed by two mid-90s fastballs.

"Obviously I couldn't find the (strike zone), walking just about everybody that got up there," Wilhelmsen said. "I just got lucky on the guys that swung early and in a game like that, you've just got to buckle down and keep fighting. You can't lose that game."

Kendrys Morales hit an RBI double and Miguel Montero added a run-scoring single in the top of the 10th for the go-ahead runs against Chicago reliever Nate Jones (0-1) -- the Sox's fourth reliever of the game, who was pitching his second inning.

Morales went 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Franklin Gutierrez led off the game with a home run and went 3-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored to lead the Mariners (3-2). It was the third time Gutierrez has led off a game with a home run in his career and second time already this season -- the first happening on April 3 at Oakland.

"I hit that ball good," Gutierrez said of the first-inning long ball, which he hit off Chicago starter Jose Quintana. "I didn't think it was out. I'm glad that it was out, but honestly I didn't think it was out. It was a tough game ... but we did everything we could do to win the game. We won and that was important for us."

Chicago (2-2) has now dropped two games in a row during a six-game homestand to open the season.

Alejandro De Aza went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in Chicago's four-run fifth to lead the Sox, while Alex Rios also hit a solo shot in the fifth and scored in the bottom of the 10th -- before Wilhelmsen finally ended a wild night.

The positive taken out of it for Chicago is that the runs came both from home runs and by stringing hits together. The Sox even plated their first run of the game to tie it 1-1 in the fourth after 6-foot-6, 285-pound slugger Adam Dunn singled, stole second and scored on a single by Paul Konerko.

In their four-run half of the fifth, which countered Seattle's five-run top half of the winning to make it 6-5, the White Sox used both methods of creating runs -- getting home runs from De Aza and Rios and a sacrifice fly by Gordon Beckham.

"That's the good part about being able to hit home runs," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "You can get back into the game pretty quick. It was nice. I think De Aza hits the homer there and kind of gives you a little momentum back, and we chipped away and tied it up.

It was just one of those things where the offense didn't give up all night."

The bullpens were impressive, as well.

Along with Wilhelmsen's save, Seattle got solid outings by relievers Carter Capps (1 IP, 1 run), Lucas Luetge, Stephen Pryor (2 IP, 0 runs) and Kameron Loe (1 IP, 0 runs). Chicago's Matt Lindstrom (2-1/3 IP, 0 runs), Donnie Veal (2/3 IP, 0 runs) and Jesse Crain (1 IP, 0 runs) combined for four scoreless innings relieving Quintana, before Jones gave up those two in the 10th for the deciding margin.

It definitely made for an interesting game to watch, at least if you were inside and warm.

"The good part about tonight is it's over, basically," Dunn said. "It was miserable out there for everybody. We had our chances and it didn't happen. We'll come out (Saturday afternoon) and hopefully get 'em."

NOTES: The temperature to start the game was 34 degrees. ... LHP John Danks, who's about nine months out from shoulder surgery, took what White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper called "a little step" forward Thursday in extended spring training. Danks needed just 77 pitches to get through five innings and is slated for another extended spring start on April 9. ... Konerko and starting catcher Tyler Flowers to get off days because of the 12:10 p.m. start on Saturday. ... This is Seattle's only trip to U.S. Cellular Field, where the Mariners went 1-5 in 2012. Seattle had lost 19 of the previous 22 games against the White Sox coming into this game. ... Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, who will start the final two games of the series, combined to go 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA with a walk and 15 strikeouts in their first two outings. ... Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager's error in the first inning was the team's first error of the season. The Mariners hadn't committed an error in its first four games (136 total chances), which matched streaks in the 2006 and 2009 seasons for longest to start a season in club history. "We should be a good defensive club," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "We were a good defensive club last year and I think we'll be a good defensive club again this year." ... Konerko's RBI single in the fourth was his 2,137th career hit with the White Sox, which pushed him past Frank Thomas for third all-time in franchise history.
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