CHICAGO (AP) — The Seattle Mariners had just five hits. They left nine runners on base and went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position. And manager Lloyd McClendon felt much of the blame belonged to his own team.
Taijuan Walker threw a wild pitch in the first inning that allowed Conor Gillaspie to score the only run in Seattle’s 1-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
“We didn’t swing the bats extremely well,” McClendon said. “Balls we did hit hard they made great plays on. That’s the way it goes. That’s baseball.”
Hector Noesi (3-6) allowed five hits in 6 2-3 innings for the White Sox, bouncing back from a shaky outing against the Los Angeles Angels. The right-hander pitched for Seattle for parts of three seasons before he was traded to Texas after two April relief appearances.
Noesi pitched in three games for the Rangers before he was let go again. Chicago claimed him off waivers April 25, and the crisp performance against the Mariners made him 3-5 with a 4.13 ERA in 14 games with the White Sox.
“He was pitching good,” Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano said. “You have to give him credit, but also we chased a lot of pitches out of the zone. That’s what makes a pitcher even better, you start chasing and he doesn’t have to throw his strike.”
Chicago finished with just two hits after it had four in Saturday’s 3-2 loss in 14 innings. But Noesi combined with two relievers on a five-hitter.
Eric Surkamp got Cano to fly out with the bases loaded for the final out of the seventh, and Jake Petricka pitched two innings for his third save in four chances. The solid relief work came one day after the White Sox blew a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning.
Seattle right-hander Taijuan Walker (1-1) lasted only four innings in his second start of the season. The 21-year-old Walker, one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, struggled with his control in his first loss in five major league appearances.
The White Sox used Walker’s wildness to grab the lead in the first. Gillaspie walked with two outs, advanced to third on Jose Abreu’s single and scored when Walker threw his first of two wild pitches on ball four to Adam Dunn.
Walker then got Alexei Ramirez to bounce into a fielder’s choice, ending the threat. The White Sox left a runner in scoring position in each of the first five innings.
Walker allowed two hits and struck out three while throwing 83 pitches on a humid day. He tossed six innings in a 10-4 victory at Houston last Monday in his season debut.
“Right now, last two games, my fastball doesn’t feel comfortable,” Walker said. “Everything else feels fine, so I think we’ve just got to find the fastball. That’s my best pitch, got to lock in, watch film and see what’s going on.”
Dustin Ackley and Brad Miller had two hits apiece for the Mariners, who had won five of six.
Gillaspie also walked in the third before he left with a bruised right knee after he was hit by a pitch from Dominic Leone in the fifth inning. Gillaspie took a few shaky steps toward first base before he was replaced by pinch-runner Leury Garcia.
“It sounded bad and he seemed like he couldn’t do anything, so we had to take him out,” manager Robin Ventura said.
Second base umpire Dana DeMuth also departed in the fifth with a strained hamstring after colliding with White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham. The game continued with three umpires.
NOTES: Seattle ace Felix Hernandez will make his next start Friday against AL West-leading Oakland. Hernandez’s next turn was slated for Thursday, but McClendon said he wanted his best pitcher going up against the A’s. McClendon also said he isn’t sure yet who will start Thursday against Minnesota. … Mariners CF James Jones got the day off. Endy Chavez started in center. … Seattle returns home to face Minnesota in the opener of a four-game series Monday night. Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-4, 3.33 ERA) and Twins RHP Kevin Correia (4-10, 4.95) are slated to pitch the first game.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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