SEATTLE (AP) – Gordon Beckham knew it wasn’t a run-on-contact situation. The ball needed to get all the way through the infield before he could head home.
And yet there was Beckham, getting caught too far off third in a tie game in the eighth inning.
“It was not a contact play tonight, unfortunately. I wish it was,” Beckham said. “The ball went right to that guy and (Chone) Figgins was playing close to the bag anyway. I was told don’t get too far off the bag and I got too far off the bag.”
Beckham’s baserunning blunder robbed Chicago of a golden opportunity to grab the lead and Matt Thornton gave up three singles in the ninth inning, the last a liner by Brendan Ryan into center field that gave the Seattle Mariners a 3-2 win over the White Sox on Friday night.
Chicago opened a nine-game West Coast road trip with its eighth loss in nine games. The White Sox have dropped 18 of 22 overall.
They wasted a strong effort by right-hander Phil Humber, who kept his team in the game against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez.
“We gave ourselves a chance to do some damage but we couldn’t pull the trigger at the right time,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We were short with men in scoring position once again.”
No situation was more painful than the eighth. Beckham started the inning with a double and went to third on Juan Pierre’s sacrifice. Alexei Ramirez then hit a hard two-hopper, but right to Ryan at shortstop. Beckham froze just a few steps off the bag at third, but far enough for Ryan to throw behind him and eventually get Beckham into a rundown where he was tagged out.
“I was trying to let it go through and just go too far, got too antsy,” Beckham said. “I made a mistake.”
Hernandez (4-2) tossed his second complete game of the season and the 15th of his career, striking out six and giving up five hits. He was brilliant early, retiring the first nine in order on just 30 pitches, then overcame his own mistakes to give Seattle’s bats a chance at the end.
Carlos Quentin jumped on one of those mistakes by Hernandez, hitting his seventh homer in the seventh. Chicago also got a sacrifice fly from Paul Konerko in the fourth.
Humber gave up just three hits – all doubles – and two runs in seven innings. In his last three starts, Humber has allowed four earned runs and seven hits, pitching exactly seven innings in all three outings.
“He threw the ball well. I’m very excited for him and hopefully next time we can score some runs for him,” Guillen said.
Humber was done after 93 pitches, and with Ichiro Suzuki leading off the eighth, Guillen went to Thornton (0-3) out of the bullpen. Thornton got through the eighth, leaving Figgins at third, but the Mariners got to him in the ninth.
Jack Cust started the rally with a one-out single and Jack Wilson followed with another hit just over the glove of second baseman Beckham. Adam Kennedy ran for Cust and advanced to third on Michael Saunders’ fly ball.
Ryan, who snapped an 0-for-21 stretch on Thursday night, then lined a 1-0 pitch past Beckham’s diving attempt for the winning hit.
Seattle (16-17) has won eight of 10 and is back within a game of .500.
“Fortunately that last at-bat I got a good pitch to hit and didn’t foul it off,” Ryan said.
Milton Bradley and Justin Smoak had RBI doubles for Seattle, but Bradley was ejected in the eighth after arguing with home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, and was pulled away by manager Eric Wedge after a heated few moments.
NOTES: This was the first of nine meetings between the clubs this season. Chicago went 9-1 against Seattle last season. … Seattle CF Franklin Gutierrez was supposed to play seven innings in the field in a rehab game at Triple-A Tacoma but was moved to designated hitter after rain delayed the start.
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