CHICAGO – A whirlwind Friday ended for the Mariners in a 2-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field that – let’s be honest – was a lot tougher than it should have been.
The Mariners spent much of the game squandering scoring opportunities; they finished 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position. But homers in the sixth inning by Kyle Seager and Franklin Gutierrez proved sufficient.
Sufficient because right-hander Taijuan Walker (10-7) was dominating for six and one-third innings before exiting the game because of a cramp in his right hip flexor.
“It just kind of cramped up and gave out on me,” he said. “Then I got back in here (to the clubhouse) and everything was fine.”
It looked far worse when Walker tumbled to the ground after delivering a pitch and grabbed his hip. Carson Smith and Tom Wilhelmsen completed the shutout. Wilhelmsen got his fifth save.
So ended a tumultuous day that began with the Mariners firing general manager Jack Zduriencik.
The game remained scoreless into the sixth inning before Seager led off with a 434-foot homer to right field against Chicago starter John Danks. It was Seager’s 19th homer of the season.
Seager had three of the Mariners’ 10 hits after going 2 for 28 over his previous seven games.
After Danks retired Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, Gutierrez teed off on a full-count fastball for a 409-foot homer to left. It was No. 10 for Gutierrez, and the Mariners led 2-0.
And that ended the scoring, but not the drama.
It got interesting in the Chicago seventh.
Melky Cabrera led off with a single through the left side. Walker struck out Avisail Garcia and worked the count full on Adam LaRoche before collapsing on the mound.
Walker grabbed his right hip and, after a quick examination, left the game. Only a cramp.
Smith replaced Walker and walked LaRoche.
That put the runners at first and second. When Alexei Ramirez grounded a single that caromed off Smith’s right hip, the bases were loaded.
Smith escaped when pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck grounded into a third-home-first double play.
Nelson Cruz went 0 for 5 as his career-best streak of reaching base ended at 37 games.
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