CHICAGO – Why win a game comfortably by five runs when you can hang on by your fingernails for a one-run win? In a season where bullpen implosions and failures have led to drama-filled late innings in almost every game, the Mariners continued that trend on Saturday, but still managed to pick up a 7-6 win over the White Sox at a rain-soaked U.S. Cellular Field.
“It was just one of those wild ones,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.
They were up 7-2 and in control, then the eighth inning fell apart. Veteran right-hander Logan Kensing had two outs with runners on first and second. He walked pinch hitter J.B. Shuck to load the bases and then thought he had Adam Eaton struck out on a 2-2 fastball. Home-plate umpire Tim Timmons called it a ball and Kensing walked Eaton on the next pitch to force in a run.
Seeing the lead sliding away, McClendon called on Tom Wilhelmsen – the third closer this season – to get the final out of the eighth.
After a two-run double from Tyler Saladino and a Jose Abreu RBI single, Wilhelmsen got that final out of the eighth when Melky Cabrera grounded out.
But the Mariners’ five-run lead had shrunk to a 7-6 margin.
In the ninth inning, Wilhelmsen allowed the tying run to reach base with a walk to Adam LaRoche, but he retired the next two batters to notch his sixth save.
The Mariners’ offense provided plenty of run support for the pitching staff, including starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who worked an inefficient 5 2/3 innings for the win.
Kyle Seager drilled a two-run homer, his 20th of the season, in his first at-bat.
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