CHICAGO -- Joel Pineiro spent the night before the game at Freddy Garcia's house, visiting and talking baseball with his good friend and former teammate.
"Freddy is like a brother to me. We never expected this to happen," Pineiro said of facing Garcia. "We told each other before the game: 'Stay focused and go out and throw and have some fun.' And we did that."
Richie Sexson homered and later doubled in the go-ahead run for the Mariners, who continued the White Sox's surprising struggles at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox (70-38) have the best record in the majors but have lost 10 of their last 14 home games.
"Ninety percent of us play better on the road. I don't know why. I count myself. I pitch good on the road, and I don't know why. I try to get that out of my mind and pitch better here," said Garcia (11-5), who is 2-4 at home and 9-1 on the road.
"It's weird when you go on the road and play better. Maybe when you're on the road and you're more relaxed and you take it easier."
Pineiro won for the first time since July 7, allowing eight hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out four. The Mariners' bullpen did the rest, pitching 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief.
Eddie Guardado finished for his 25th straight save and 26th in 27 chances.
"It's just one start, but hopefully it gets me started on a good roll," Pineiro said, looking forward to another possible matchup with Garcia when the teams play again in Seattle later this month.
"It was a matter tonight of who had the better stuff. He had good stuff, it was just a matter of just a couple of hits there and there and a walk that hurt him," Pineiro added.
"He's one of my buddies," Garcia said. "I'm happy he pitched good. He got a couple of double plays and stayed out of big innings."
Sexson, in an 0-for-12 skid entering the game, homered in the second and then hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth to make it 3-2. Raul Ibanez, who had singled off Freddy Garcia (11-5), scored all the way from first, but Sexson was out easily trying to reach third when Garcia retrieved the throw to the plate and threw to Joe Crede at the bag.
The Mariners added another run in the seventh on a walk to Yuniesky Betancourt, a double by Chris Snelling and RBI grounder by Yorvit Torrealba.
"We haven't been able to do everybody's job on the same day. That's why we've struggled," Sexson said. "Today we had a little of everything."
Pineiro (4-7), with just one win in his previous 16 starts, gave up solo homers to Aaron Rowand in the first and A.J. Pierzynski in the fourth. He helped himself by starting a pair of 1-6-3 double plays to end White Sox rallies as Chicago's offense fizzled.
"Right now it feels like we're going through the motions," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We have to step up and get better at-bats."
If Guillen can't understand his team's offensive approach, he's also perplexed by their struggles at home.
"Most teams play good at home and we don't," Guillen said. "We've had some real bad games here."
Sexson led off the second with his 27th homer for a 1-all tie.
Seattle went up 2-1 in the fourth on a single by Willie Bloomquist, a walk to Ibanez, a double steal and RBI single from Adrian Beltre.
Garcia, who spent five-plus years with the Mariners, had lost just once in his previous 14 starts. But two of his five losses this season are to his former team, which also beat him on April 17.
He gave up seven hits and four runs in seven innings Friday night with three walks and four strikeouts.
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-3 with a walk and is now in a major-league career-worst 0-for-22 slump. ...Chicago 2B Tadahito Iguchi, who was hit in the hip by a pitch in Baltimore last week -- drawing the ire of manager Ozzie Guillen -- was beaned by Pineiro's curveball that didn't break in the third but was not seriously injured. ... The crowd of 39,165 was the White Sox's 11th sellout of the season, a franchise record.