Mariners open up second half with sweep of the White Sox

Nelson Cruz gave the Mariners a much needed series sweep in the top of the 10th.

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Photo Credit: Panamerican World

Nelson Cruz crushed a solo homerun to left field in the top of the 10th to give the Seattle Mariners (46-47) a 7-6 lead, the win, and the sweep over the Chicago White Sox (38-52). The sweep was Seattle’s first sweep in Chicago since 2003.

Cruz was given the green light on a 3-0 pitch, and he did not disappoint when he smashed the ball into left field. The 37-year old designated hitter wasn’t the only batter to club a home run as third baseman Kyle Seager crushed a solo shot in the fourth inning, and first basemen Danny Valencia tied the game at five in the fifth with a three run shot. It was a complete offensive performance for Seattle on the road in a ballpark that they’ve recently struggled in.

In the third game of the series, starting pitcher Andrew Moore struggled for the first time in the majors. The rookie lasted only three innings while giving up six hits (three of those were dingers) and five runs.

Fortunately for Moore, the M’s bullpen continued its outright dominance that it has displayed throughout the series.  Emilio Pagan, James Pazos, and Steve Cischek combined to go five innings while only giving up one, unearned, run to limit the damage and give Seattle’s offense a chance to get the team back in the game.

The comeback started with Seager’s solo shot, and then ended with Valencia’s game tying three run blast.

Seattle first took the lead in the game in the top of the sixth when Guillermo Heredia scored on a wild pitch from Anthony Swarzak. Heredia had reached on a single then moved to second base on a single by catcher Mike Zunino and then reached third on an error by Alen Hanson. The Mariners would strand Zunino on third, he also advanced on the wild pitch.

Chicago tied the game at six on a double by Jose Abreu that scored Hanson in the bottom of the seventh.

Nick Vincent got the win for preventing the damage from getting any worse in the seventh and held Chicago scoreless in the eighth. Then Edwin Diaz came into secure his 16th save of the season.

Sweeping the White Sox in three games is huge for Seattle as they’re looking to claw back into the race for the second wildcard spot. The Mariners are going to need to continue to beat up on the few AL teams that are already out of the race and make sure that they win series against those other teams hanging in there. It’s going to be incredibly important for the Mariners to create distance between them and some of the other team hovering around .500 — for example the Angels and Rangers.

This series sweep is a good way to start off the second half.

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