CHICAGO (AP) —Alex Rios hit a tie breaking, two-run homer off Felix Hernandez in the sixth inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Saturday.
With one out and Alejandro De Aza aboard after a leadoff single, Rios drove an 0-2 pitch through a tricky wind and way over the wall in left for his second homer in two days. He also connected for a solo shot Friday night, but the White Sox lost 8-7 in 10 innings.
Hernandez (1-1) allowed four runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings in his first try for win No. 100. The right-hander, who turns 27 on Monday, struck out three to give him 1,498 for his career.
De Aza and Hector Gimenez each had a sacrifice fly as Chicago improved to 25-5 against Seattle since the start of the 2010 season. The White Sox will send ace Chris Sale to the mound on Sunday against Hisashi Iwakuma in the rubber game of the weekend set.
Seattle pulled within one on Michael Saunders’ two-run homer in the eighth, but the rally fizzled from there. Jesse Crain wriggled out of a jam to get the ball to Addison Reed, who worked the ninth for his third save.
The Mariners grabbed the lead in the second when Raul Ibanez doubled, moved up on a passed ball and scored on Jeff Keppinger’s two-out error in his first start of the season at first base. An error by pitcher Jose Quintana led to a five-run inning for the Mariners on Friday night, but Keppinger’s mistake on Dustin Ackley’s grounder proved to be a minor speed bump for the White Sox.
Third baseman Conor Gillaspie turned a slick double play to stop a Seattle threat in the fifth, then led off the bottom half with a drive over the head of Michael Morse in right for a triple. Alexei Ramirez grounded out for the first out, but Gimenez delivered a tying sacrifice fly.
Rios went deep in the sixth and De Aza tacked on a sacrifice fly in the seventh as Hernandez dropped to 1-5 in eight career starts at U.S. Cellular Field.
Dylan Axelrod had a successful season debut for the White Sox, allowing an unearned run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings. Donnie Veal (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
NOTES: Mariners OF Franklin Gutierrez started the game on the bench, then struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth. “I’m trying to keep him ahead of it,” manager Eric Wedge said. “It was a long night last night and the cold weather and everything, it felt like it’s a smart thing to give him a day today.” Gutierrez played in just 40 games last season due to a myriad of injuries. … White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams turned 49 on Saturday. … Keppinger went 0 for 4 and is 1 for 21 this season. … Ackley is off to a similarly slow start for the Mariners. He went 0 for 3 and is stuck in a 1-for-19 rut.
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