SEATTLE (AP) –Scott Servais spent the majority of his pre-game time on Wednesday praising his Seattle Mariners for the job they’ve done to be a good defensive ball club this season.
And then the Mariners quickly came out and made three errors in a 9-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
“We play very clean baseball, for the most part,” the Seattle manager said. “You’re going to have tough days. Today was one. We made a few mistakes, and it wasn’t just one. We made a few different ones that hurt us in this baseball game .”
Eloy Jiménez drove in three runs with a home run and a brace, Chicago took advantage of each of Seattle’s three errors. The Mariners started the day with the fewest errors of any baseball team, then ended up allowing the White Sox six unearned runs.
“We kind of let this one go. Again, we’re not going to dwell on it for too long. We have the day off tomorrow, we have to let it go,” Servais said.
The White Sox took two of three in the series and trailed Cleveland and Minnesota in the packed AL Central race.
It looked early on it would be a series loss for the White Sox as Seattle starter Luis Castillo tied an American League record by striking out the first seven batters to start the game.
But Castillo erred by giving up Jiménez’ two-out home run in the fourth inning and watched as Chicago rallied for four runs in the sixth inning that started with a field error by third baseman Eugenio Suárez.
“I thought it was going to be a long day,” Chicago interim manager Miguel Cairo said. “But the guys fought back and it was a team win. It was unbelievable.”
Seattle got a pair of homers from Suárez for the No. 1,000 and 1,001 hits of his career. The second homer led the seventh and drew Seattle even at 6.
But the White Sox took advantage of another defensive error in the eighth. Jiménez hit a one-out single, and pinch runner Leury García stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error from catcher Curt Casali.
García scored easily off the field from Gavin Sheets who bounced high off the plate. Chicago added two more runs in the ninth after a throwing error from reliever Chris Flexen.
“Everyone stepped up and did their job,” Cairo said. “It’s teamwork. It’s a team. Everyone understands each other and that’s what we’ve been doing lately.
Aaron Bummer (1-1) allowed Suarez’s homer in the seventh inning but threw a jam after Seattle had runners on first and second and no outs and couldn’t add.
Vince Velasquez pitched the eighth and Liam Hendriks retired the side of the ninth for his 31st save. The White Sox have won six of the last eight games.
“It’s the games from the start of the year that we couldn’t pull back and that’s one thing we have at this club at the moment is that we’re not backing down,” Hendriks said.
Seattle lost just the fourth time in the last 15 games, but any loss with Castillo on the mound hurts as the Mariners vie with Tampa Bay and Toronto for the top wildcard spot in the AL.
Castillo set a franchise record for most consecutive strikeouts to start a game. Chicago’s first inbounds came with a third-inning out when Josh Harrison ran down a 3-2 pitch.
But he could not pass the sixth round. After Suarez’s mistake, José Abreu dribbled an RBI single across the infield and Jiménez’ double RBI pulled the White Sox even at 4.
Sheets hit a sacrifice fly and Andrew Vaughn capped the inning with an RBI double.
Castillo finished with eight strikeouts and only three of the six runs allowed were earned.
“I didn’t know what the record was, but luckily we were able to take that step,” Castillo said through an interpreter.
Diego Castillo (7-3) lost in relief.
Chicago starter Michael Kopech returned from the injured list and pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits.
Castillo’s seven strikeouts to start the game tied an AL record first achieved by Joe Cowley for the White Sox on May 28, 1986. Carlos Rodón for the White Sox (September 30, 2016) and Blake Snell for Tampa Bay (June 3, 2018) also retired the first seven batters of the game.
The major league record is nine in a row by Miami’s Pablo López set last season.
White Sox: OF Luis Robert was out of the lineup one day after being hit in the left finger during a swing. Cairo said Robert was day to day but was already suffering from a sore left wrist.
White Sox: RHP Dylan Cease (13-6, 2.13) will start Game 1 of a four-game series at Oakland on Thursday. Cease went a no-hitter in his last start against Minnesota. The no-hitter was broken by Luis Arraez.
Mariners: LHP Robbie Ray (12-8, 3.45) will start Game 1 of a three-game series against Atlanta on Friday. Ray pitched six shutout innings in his last start against Cleveland.