White Sox loss leaves Ozzie fuming
Danks' gem wasted as Jenks allows two homers in ninth
SEATTLE -- The five-second pause after Ozzie Guillen was asked the first postgame question Thursday night at Safeco Field seemed to indicate the colorful White Sox manager was about to take off on one of his classic rants.
Instead, the first question became the only question for the highly quotable Guillen. His simmering frustration following a devastating 4-3 loss in 14 innings to the Mariners, his club's second 14-inning loss in Safeco this season, was summed up in one directly harsh commentary.
"I'm only going to say two things," said Guillen, sitting behind his desk following the White Sox second straight setback to Seattle and their fourth loss in six games on this West Coast swing. "I'm tired and I don't have anything.
"It was 2 1/2 hours of satisfaction and then 2 1/2 hours of [bad] baseball. Go and ask them. I don't have any more quotes, seriously. What am I going to say? They [are bad]? Yes, they are."
Although the game might have seemed like five hours to Guillen, it actually checked in at one minute short of four hours. And as Guillen pointed out, the White Sox had affairs pretty well in hand through eight innings, or the first 2 1/2 hours.
John Danks seemed to have picked the perfect time to set a new single-season career high in victories at 13, holding the Mariners to one run on four hits over eight innings. Unfortunately, closer Bobby Jenks was unable to complete the deal.
Sent in to protect a 3-1 lead in the ninth, Jenks gave up a leadoff home run to Jose Lopez. Two outs later, Bill Hall drilled a 1-1 offering from Jenks over the left-field wall to tie the game. It was the first time in Jenks' highly accomplished career that he allowed two home runs in one outing, and it marked his second blown save on this road trip and sixth in 35 chances.
"Bobby has been an All-Star. He's a guy that nine out of 10 times is going to get the job done," said Danks, who departed after 97 pitches. "If we had to do the same situation over again, we would give the ball right back to him. And we would know he would probably get the job done."
"Obviously, frustrating," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who had a sacrifice fly to score the team's first run back in the opening inning, at about 6 p.m. CT. "We pretty much had the game in hand. Had it down to one out and Bobby hung a slider and [Hall] didn't miss it."
While Jenks blew the save in the ninth, it was Scott Linebrink (3-7) who suffered the loss in the 14th as the team's seventh pitcher and 15th overall in this lengthy affair. Ichiro delivered the game-winner with a line shot to right-center, scoring Ryan Langerhans, who singled past second baseman Chris Getz with one out and moved to second when pinch-hitter Kenji Johjima was hit by a pitch.
"We made some good pitches to get out of some situations as the extra innings went," Pierzynski said. "And then Liney fell behind Ichiro, and he missed a spot with his fastball. He hit it, and we lost."
There really was only one scoring chance for the White Sox from the 10th inning on, when Paul Konerko (3-for-6) and Mark Kotsay (4-for-6) singled with two outs in the 12th off Mark Lowe, putting runners on first and third. But Jermaine Dye struck out for the third time in the game, leaving him 0-for-6 for the contest, and dropping his average to .248.
Alex Rios also finished 0-for-6, including a double-play grounder after Getz drew his fourth walk to lead off the 11th. Those offensive shortcomings led to Guillen making one more strong statement in the quiet White Sox clubhouse, explaining how there would be several lineup changes on tap for Friday at home against Kansas City, including Dewayne Wise getting a start.
"They give up on me, then I give up on them," Guillen said.
With 15 games remaining, the White Sox (72-75) have an elimination number of 10 and sit 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers, who lost once again to the Royals earlier in the day. The White Sox also fell 2 1/2 games behind the Twins for second.
Talk can continue as to how the White Sox postseason hopes have not been completely dashed, and with six games remaining against the Tigers, anything is possible. But it's hard to win a division when a team sits a weekend's worth of victories away from .500, and now has to make up somewhat sizable deficits on two teams.
During the last 10 games against the Royals and Blue Jays, the Tigers (78-68) posted three victories. During that same struggling time frame for the AL Central leaders, the White Sox made up just one game.
"If we don't win games, it doesn't matter what we tell ourselves," Pierzynski said. "There were a couple of games on this trip we should have won and we didn't -- today and the last game at Anaheim. It's frustrating because they are trying to let us back in it.
"Whoever wants it, us or Minnesota, Detroit is trying to give it. They are keeping us in it by not winning. That's what is so frustrating. It seems like it's there, but we can't do anything about it."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.