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Colon does the job as Sox edge Seattle
The White Sox's lineup were so feeble to start Saturday night's game that Seattle's Gil Meche needed only 28 pitches to record the first 10 outs.
Sox starter Bartolo Colon was equally unimpressive, giving up a two-run homer to Edgar Martinez in the first inning and a solo shot to Ichiro Suzuki in the third.
But just as the Sox appeared destined to lose for the 14th time in their last 19 games, they rallied to a stirring 4-3 victory before 43,123 stunned fans at Safeco Field.
"This was huge," manager Jerry Manuel said. "We haven't played well on this trip, but if we win [Sunday], we'd go 3-3. That would be a good accomplishment."
Especially considering the Sox entered the game 4-27 on the West Coast since 2001.
Magglio Ordonez struck the key blow Saturday, a two-run double in the sixth that tied the game.
The Sox took the lead in the seventh when Carlos Lee scored on a double play. With none out and runners at the corners, Mariners manager Bob Melvin simply conceded the run.
"I thought he made the right decision," Manuel said. "If he brings the infield in and we get a bloop single, the inning continues and the game is over."
Or perhaps Melvin figured that the Sox's bullpen would blow the game.
It did not.
With a runner on in the ninth and Colon at 116 pitches, Manuel summoned Damaso Marte, not Billy Koch, to close it out.
Manuel traced his decision to a game last Saturday, noting that Marte had struck out John Olerud, Mike Cameron and Jeff Cirillo in a 12-2 loss to the Mariners.
This time Marte retired Olerud, Cameron and pinch-hitter Greg Colbrunn. And he did it in unusual fashion. With one out and pinch-runner Willie Bloomquist at second, Cameron lined a ball to left field. Lee charged and tried to make a diving catch. But he trapped it.
Bloomquist, thinking Lee had made the catch, first retreated to second. By the time he sprinted for third, the Sox had him caught in a rundown, with Joe Crede applying the tag.
"We haven't gotten a lot of breaks lately, to say the least," Manuel said.
The Sox took advantage of this one. Marte blew a fastball past Colbrunn to end the game and even Colon's record at 3-3.
The burly right-hander was superb after allowing Suzuki's third-inning homer. He retired 17 of the next 20 men he faced on fastballs that registered as high as 99 m.p.h.
"I've noticed that when we get behind and then score a couple of runs, he has another gear and goes to it," Manuel said.
That extra gear is what the Sox had been looking for from Colon, who entered the game 0-3 with a 6.05 ERA in his last three starts.
"Sometimes he maybe loses a little aggressiveness and wants to pitch a little bit more," pitching coach Don Cooper said Friday. "Cruising isn't the right word. It's more that sometimes he pitches out of his style. He's a power guy and, hey, bring that power to the glove.
"If we score some runs, the game's going to be over."
It took the Sox seven innings Saturday, but they finally made Colon a winner.