King Felix out duels Chris Sale in pivotal win over White Sox

8/26 at CWS by TOM HAYDEN 

68-60, 6.5 GB in AL WEST ---- 

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WHAT A MATCH-UP this was on Friday night at U.S Cellular Field in Chicago as our Mariners defeated the White Sox by a final score of 3-1! RHP Felix Hernandez vs CWS ace LHP Chris Sale just let's you know as a fan that it would be a long, hard battle, and that's exactly what it was on Friday night in the the South Side of Chicago. King Felix made his 18th start of the season, and it was a fantastic one. The great thing about this one too was the fact that offense and the defense behind Felix were able to back him up in seeking a well-deserved win for the the King. RF Franklin Gutierrez got himself out of a slump, which was very good to see, helping the M's in this one. With the win, Seattle has advanced to 8 games over .500 at 68-60 on the season, now 6.5 games in back of the first place Texas Rangers in the American League Western division standings. For a wild card spot, the M's are just 2 games, thats right, 2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for that second wild card position. Only the Detroit Tigers are ahead of them in the race to get there by 1 game! 

Offensively on Friday night in Chicago the Mariners put up 3 runs on 5 hits off of CWS LHP Chris Sale. Despite striking out 14 times as a team on Friday night, Mariners offense was able to solve Sale in the long run. Getting the solving done first was RF Franklin Gutierrez (.234 AVG) who got himself out of a slump on Friday night. Gutierrez had been batting a .200 AVG in his last 30 games and was 16-for-80 in his last 80 at bats. The reason he sticks around on this roster however is because of when he delivers at crucial moments, and he did so on Friday night. Guti launched his 12th homer of the season off of Sale in the top of the second inning in a 1-for-3 night at the plate giving Seattle a 1-0 lead in what everyone knew would be a low scoring game; so any lead was a big one. The solo homer to right-center gave Guti his 30th RBI of the season. WATCH- Guti's home run here by clicking this link here - 1B Adam Lind (.231 AVG) also drove in a run for Seattle in the top of the fourth inning with his 13th double of the season, a liner to center field scoring Nelson Cruz to put the M's up 3-0 over Chicago at that point. Lind went 1-for-3 at the dish on Friday night and the RBI double now gives Lind 51 on the season. LF-RF Guillermo Heredia (.229 AVG) drove in the second Mariner run of the game in the top of the third inning as he grounded into double play with the bases loaded, scoring Shawn O'Malley. Because of the GIDP, Heredia was not rewarded an RBI, nor a hit, so he went 0-for-4 at the plate in this one. CF Leonys Martin (.248 AVG), DH Neslon Cruz (.283 AVG), and SS Ketel Marte (.263 AVG) each had a single for the M's in this one. 

On the mound on Friday night, RHP Felix "The King" Hernandez had an outing that was imply "fit for a King". Hernandez went 7.1 innings solid giving up just 1 run on 8 hits (earned run) while striking out 5 and walking 2 White Sox in his outing. Felix gave up a solo homer to CWS 3B Todd Frazier in the bottom of the seventh inning in what was a 9-pitch at bat. Felix obviously earned himself the win as he out dueled Chris Sale with the fantastic night of work. He now has an individual W-L record of 9-4 on the season with a solid ERA of 3.14 in 117.2 innings pitched this season. In relief on Friday night for the M's was Edwin "Sugar" Diaz (2.15 ERA) who tossed a 5-out save to seal the deal for Felix and the M's in this one. Diaz earned his 11th save of the season in his 11th opportunity to earn a save this season as he gave up nothing 1.2 innings of work. Diaz struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to secure the 3-1 win over the White Sox. Diaz now has 69 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched so far this season. To me, that's some incredible work. 


The Mariners will now look to keep this winning momentum moving forwards as we are set and ready for game 3 of the 4-game series on Saturday night in the South Side of Chicago. Be sure to tune into ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle radio for listening as LHP Ariel Miranda is set and ready to make his 4th start of the season for Seattle, and his 6th appearance in a game so far this year. Miranda (1-0, 5.49 ERA) has yet to lose in 19.2 innings pitched so far this season. Miranda and the M's are set and ready to face CWS LHP Jose Quintana (10-9, 2.84 ERA)! First pitch start time- 4:10 PM PAC, 7:10 PM ET! 


 OF Norichika Aoki has been optioned to AAA tacoma, following Friday night's win over CWS, to make more room for arms. 

INF Mike Freeman has been optioned to AAA Tacoma. Freeman was called up to replace 3B Kyle Seager during the time of his injury but it appears that Kyle Seager will return to Saturday night's lineup (8/27 at CWS). 

Expect to see more roster moves from the Mariners on 8/27. Be sure to follow @Mariners365 on Twitter for any updates involving the Seattle Mariners! 

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue as our Mariners #KeepFighting!