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White Sox, Rain Cool Off Mariners In Chicago

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White Sox sweep Mariners (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

White Sox sweep Mariners (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (AP) — Mariners manager Eric Wedge wanted to see what his team could do with a full nine innings.

Tyler Flowers hit a go-ahead homer just before the final downpour and the Chicago White Sox beat Seattle 4-3 in a rain-shortened game Sunday for their sixth straight victory.

The young Mariners lost all three games in the series by one run.

“I wish we could have finished it off,” Wedge said. “Our kids are playing so hard right now. They’re fighting. We could have won all three of these games, too. We’ll be better for it.”

Immediately following a 6-minute rain delay in the seventh inning, Flowers launched a two-run shot off Kevin Millwood to lead first-place Chicago to its second consecutive series sweep.

Rain continued to pour until the tarp was put on to stay two batters later, and the game was called after a wait of nearly 2 hours.

The start was delayed for 1 hour, 51 minutes due to showers that persisted throughout the game before it was finally stopped.

Capser Wells hit a two-run homer for Seattle. Millwood (4-11) allowed four runs — three earned — over 6 2-3 innings. He has just one win in his last 16 starts.

“He was throwing the ball great, making pitches. He was commanding the game,” Wedge said. “We didn’t help him early. They scored runs early because we gave it to them.”

Millwood gave up the go-ahead homer on his second pitch to Flowers immediately after the short delay. The right-hander returned to the dugout during the brief stoppage as workers tended to the field.

“It was just weird, different,” Millwood said. “I thought (the umpire) said they were going to put the tarp on. Then they just put the Diamond Dry on or whatever. I don’t think anybody really knew what to do, just kind of standing around. Either way, it didn’t affect what happened.”

Nate Jones (7-0) escaped a seventh-inning jam after inheriting runners on first and third with nobody out. He earned his second win in two days.

The young flamethrower struck out Trayvon Robinson looking after inducing a pair of soft popups. TheMariners had won 10 of 11 before being swept by Chicago.

“You can’t draw this up. Guys just battled,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “With everybody in the bullpen and what they’re doing, it’s nice.”

Wells’ two-run homer off Hector Santiago in the fifth following Justin Smoak’s leadoff single gave the Marinersa 3-2 lead. Wells’ eighth home run snapped an 0-for-16 slump.

“I kind of had an intuitive thought he’d be throwing a changeup,” Wells said. “He likes his changeup a lot and he left one up enough for me to get a good part of the bat on it and luckily it went out of the

ballpark.”

The Mariners were swept for the eighth time this season, but only twice since the All-Star break.

“If we had a little more time, who knows what could have happened?” Wells said. “It’s nice to know we can come back from big deficits and put runs on the board. Our pitching has pretty much kept us in it all

year and our defense has been there. It seems like we’re starting to come around as a team. This is a tough team right now, playing the White Sox. You know it’s going to be a close game.”

The White Sox retained their 2½-game lead in the AL Central over the Tigers, who beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-2. Chicago starter Gavin Floyd, however, left after two innings with right elbow discomfort.

Floyd said it was in the same area that cost him a stint on the disabled list in July. He will remain in Chicago to have an MRI on Monday.

“It kind of started bothering me a little bit in the first inning, late in the first. And then the second inning, it really started to kind of affect me,” Floyd said. “I felt it every time I threw a breaking pitch or even a fastball a little bit.”

Floyd allowed a pair of singles to start the game, and Dustin Ackley scored on Jesus Montero’s infield single. Floyd limited the first-inning damage to one run despite giving up three hits and a walk.

He pitched a 1-2-3 second, but did not return for the third. The team announced right elbow discomfort for the 29-year-old, who was relieved by Hector Santiago.

Chicago’s Alex Rios reached 20 homers and 20 steals in the second inning when he stole second base. He later scored on Jordan Danks’ sacrifice fly.

Kevin Youkilis tripled home a run in the third inning. Seattle right fielder Eric Thames misplayed the shallow liner that bounced all the way to the wall as Ray Olmedo scored from first.

“It was just a bad decision,” Wedge said. “I like the aggressiveness to a point, but you can’t be overly aggressive at that point of time in the game.”

NOTES: Mariners OF Michael Saunders (groin) missed a second straight start. He was injured Friday. Wedge said he hopes Saunders can start Monday in Minnesota. … OF Franklin Gutierrez (concussion) is close to rejoining the team, Wedge said. … OF Mike Carp (left hip tightness) is expected to begin serving as the DH in rehab games on Monday. … The Mariners will send ace Felix Hernandez (12-5, 2.54 ERA) to the mound against the Twins’ Liam Hendricks (0-6, 7.06) on Monday.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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