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For about five glorious minutes in the fifth inning, it appeared the White Sox unlocked the secret to stringing together baserunners:
Hit the ball straight up in the air, as high as you can.
Adam Engel figured it out first, when his first-pitch popup with two outs started near the shortstop position, then blew all the way into foul territory, beyond the reach of Eugenio Suárez and J.P. Crawford. He did it again when his popup in front of home plate eluded catcher Cal Raleigh for a two-base error/15-foot double.
Jake Burger followed suit with a popup that drifted past the infield grass and to the back of the infield dirt, once again out of Crawford’s reach, for an RBI single that cut the Seattle lead from 2-1.
Alas, the Mariners’ idea of hitting the ball with more authority proved to have more staying power. Seattle hit three homers, at least two of which were aided by the 29-mph wind blowing straight out to left field. Jarred Kelenic’s second-inning two-run shot off the foul pole in right didn’t need it, but he might’ve benefited from a floating napkin that delayed the start of Jimmy Lambert’s matchup with Suárez after he started his afternoon retiring the first five he faced. Lambert walked Suárez on four pitches following the litter interruption, and then Kelenec left the yard at 114 mph.
The other homers were sketchier. Andrew Vaughn initially tracked Raleigh’s sixth-inning fly as though he had 20 feet to spare, but it landed in the back half of the White Sox bullpen. An inning later, Mitch Haniger greeted José Ruiz by lining his first-pitch fastball into the first row of the left-field bleachers.
The White Sox had no such contact off Logan Gilbert and four Seattle relievers, who limited the White Sox to four singles and a walk. Gilbert did a good job running his fastball in on the White Sox righties, which allowed his sliders to play up even when they lacked location. Andrés Muñoz was particularly scary in the sixth, striking out the side on 14 pitches while running a fastball that topped out at 102.8 mph.
Still, the Sox came away from the three-game set with Seattle as series victors. And unlike Wednesday night, nobody got hurt.
*Leury García went hitless in his four at-bats, so he’s 0-for-17 to start the season. He also booted a grounder and dropped a pop-up for a pair of errors, along with another grounder he couldn’t find the ears on that was ruled an infield single.
*Anderson Severino made his MLB debut and summed up his strengths and weaknesses over 1⅓ innings. He plunked a batter and walked another, but he also struck out three and kept the Mariners off the board.