SEATTLE - Scott Servais spent a majority of his pregame time on Wednesday lauding his Seattle Mariners for the work they have done to be a good defensive ballclub this season.
And then the Mariners promptly went out and committed three errors in a 9-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
"We play very clean baseball, for the most part," the Seattle manager said. "You’re going to have rough days. Today was one of them. We made some mistakes, and it wasn’t just one. We made a couple different ones that hurt us in this ballgame."
Eloy Jiménez drove in three runs with a homer and double, Chicago took advantage of each of Seattle’s three errors. The Mariners began the day with the fewest errors of any team in baseball, then ended up allowing six unearned runs to the White Sox.
"We kind of let this one slip away. Again, we’re not going to harp on it too long. We have an off day tomorrow, we got to let it go," Servais said.
The White Sox took two of three in the series and stayed on the heels of Cleveland and Minnesota in the crowded AL Central race.
It looked early like it would be a series loss for the White Sox as Seattle starter Luis Castillo tied an American League record by striking out the first seven batters to start the game.
But Castillo made a mistake giving up Jiménez’s two-out home run in the fourth inning, and watched Chicago rally for four runs in the sixth inning that started with a fielding error by third baseman Eugenio Suárez.
"I thought it was going to be a long day," Chicago acting manager Miguel Cairo said. "But the guys fight back and it was a team win. It was unbelievable."
Seattle got a pair of home runs by Suárez for hits Nos. 1,000 and 1,001 of his career. The second homer led off the seventh and pulled Seattle even at 6.
But the White Sox took advantage of another defensive mistake in the eighth. Jiménez singled with one out, and pinch-runner Leury García stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Curt Casali.
García scored easily on Gavin Sheets’ groundout that bounced high off the plate. Chicago added two more runs in the ninth after a throwing error by reliever Chris Flexen.
"Everyone stepped up and did their job," Cairo said. "That’s teamwork. That’s a team. Everyone is picking each other up and that’s what we’ve been doing lately.
Aaron Bummer (1-1) allowed Suarez’s homer in the seventh inning, but pitched out of a jam after Seattle had runners at first and second and no outs and couldn’t add on.
Vince Velasquez pitched the eighth and Liam Hendriks struck out the side the ninth for his 31st save. The White Sox have won six of the past eight.
"These are the games earlier in the year that we weren’t able to pull out and that’s one thing we’ve got going on in this clubhouse right now it’s we’re not backing down," Hendriks said.
Seattle lost for just the fourth time in the past 15 games, but any loss with Castillo on the mound hurts as the Mariners are vying with Tampa Bay and Toronto for the top wild-card spot in the AL.
Castillo set a franchise record for most consecutive strikeouts to start a game. The first ball put in play by Chicago came with one out in the third inning when Josh Harrison grounded out on a 3-2 pitch.
But he couldn’t make it through the sixth inning. After Suarez’s error, José Abreu dribbled an RBI single through the infield and Jiménez’s RBI double pulled the White Sox even at 4.
Sheets hit a sacrifice fly and Andrew Vaughn capped the inning with an RBI double.
Castillo finished with eight strikeouts and only three of the six runs allowed were earned.
"I didn’t know what the record was, but luckily we were able to accomplish that milestone," Castillo said through an interpreter.
Diego Castillo (7-3) lost in relief.
Chicago starter Michael Kopech returned from the injured list and threw 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits.
Castillo’s seven strikeouts to begin the game matched an AL record first accomplished by Joe Cowley for the White Sox on May 28, 1986. Carlos Rodón for the White Sox (Sept. 30, 2016) and Blake Snell for Tampa Bay (June 3, 2018) also struck out the first seven batters of the game.
The major league record is nine straight by Miami’s Pablo López set last season.
White Sox: OF Luis Robert was out of the lineup a day after getting hit on his left fingers during a swing. Cairo said Robert was day-to-day but was already dealing with a sore left wrist.
White Sox: RHP Dylan Cease (13-6, 2.13) will start the opener of a four-game series in Oakland on Thursday. Cease was one out from a no-hitter in his last start against Minnesota. The no-hitter was broken up by Luis Arraez.
Mariners: LHP Robbie Ray (12-8, 3.45) will start the opener of a three-game series against Atlanta on Friday. Ray threw six shutout inning in his last start against Cleveland.