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White Sox's Ozuna leads rally in ninth, scores winning run in 11th

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Pablo Ozuna's two at-bats Wednesday night were two of the best of his career. One featured rare power and the other his customary speed. Both helped the Chicago White Sox to another victory.

Ozuna hit his first major league homer to tie the game with two outs in the ninth. Then after hustling out a two-out double in the 11th, he scored the game-winning run on Juan Uribe's single as the White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 6-5.

"Yes, they were my best moments individually in baseball," said Ozuna, a key reserve for the White Sox's World Series champion last season.

Ozuna hit a ball through the middle in the 11th off Jake Woods (1-1) and then kept running, making second for a double. Uribe then dumped a single into shallow center and Ozuna scored easily as the White Sox won for the 18th time in the last 22 games.

"As soon as I hit the ball, I realized that the center fielder and second baseman were kind of lackadaisical, so I decided to take a chance," Ozuna said through a translator.

The 31-year-old Ozuna's first homer in 334 major league at-bats came as a pinch-hitter and sailed over the left-field fence against Mariners' closer Eddie Guardado in the ninth, tying the game at 5-5. It spoiled a four-run rally by the Mariners in the eighth that had given them a 5-4 lead. Guardado now has three blown saves in seven chances.

"I'm puzzled," Guardado said. "I'm not going to go out there and strike the world out or anything, but I do get ground balls and I do get fly balls. These fly balls are just going over the fence. And at the time, I don't need them to go over the fence."

Ozuna, who was 9-for-19 this season entering the game, got the call as a pinch-hitter for Rob Mackowiak against the lefty Guardado.

"I was ready to go since the fourth inning. They had a lot of lefties coming in from the bullpen and I knew if I got a chance to get into the game I would try to make something happen and hit the ball hard somewhere," Ozuna said.

"I wanted to take a chance that he would get a base hit and hopefully steal a base," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I didn't think he'd hit a home run."

Bobby Jenks (1-0) got the win after getting out of a tight jam in the 11th. The Mariners had first and third after a single, forceout and error on Paul Konerko, but Joe Crede made a nice play and strong throw on speedy Willie Bloomquist's slow grounder to end the inning.

Crede's grand slam in the seventh off reliever Rafael Soriano put Chicago up 4-1, but Jose Lopez hit a two-run single to tie the game in the eighth and scored on second baseman Tadahito Iguchi's wild relay throw that gave Seattle a 5-4 lead.

But Guardado couldn't close it out. It was the second time this season the Mariners' lefty had surrendered a game-tying homer to the White Sox in the ninth. He'd served up one to Chicago rookie Brian Anderson in Seattle on April 24.

With the Mariners trailing by three, Jeremy Reed led off the eighth with a double to snap an 0-for-21 skid and scored on an RBI single by Kenji Johjima that finished starter Freddy Garcia. Bloomquist singled off reliever Matt Thornton and after the runners moved up to second and third on Ichiro Suzuki's slow grounder, Lopez tied the game with a two-run single to right off Cliff Politte.

After an intentional walk to Raul Ibanez, Richie Sexson hit a grounder to third baseman Crede, who threw to second for the force, but Iguchi's relay to first trying to get the double play was wild and high. Sexson came up limping on the play but remained in the game.

Mariners starter Gil Meche shut the White Sox out allowing two hits in six innings, but got into trouble in the seventh. Jim Thome walked to start the seventh and after Konerko doubled into the left-field corner, the Mariners intentionally walked A.J. Pierzynski before calling on Soriano.

Garcia allowed five hits and three runs in seven plus innings against his former team.

He hit Lopez with a pitch leading off the fourth and after Ibanez singled, both runners moved up on Sexson's dribbler in front of the plate. Carl Everett, who had 23 homers and 87 RBI for Chicago last season, then hit a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.

Notes

  • Chicago RF Jermaine Dye, bothered by a sore calf muscle that forced him out in the third inning Tuesday, did not play. Ross Gload, with just six at-bats all season, got the start.
  • Reed did not start but entered the game as defensive replacement in the seventh.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Inserted in the ninth to pinch hit, Pablo Ozuna finishes with two hits and scores the game winner.  (AP)
Inserted in the ninth to pinch hit, Pablo Ozuna finishes with two hits and scores the game winner. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Crede
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Chicago

P. Ozuna
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF5000001
Jose Lopez, 2B4222000
Raul Ibanez, LF4020101
Richie Sexson, 1B5000001
Carl Everett, DH3001100
Adrian Beltre, 3B5010013
Matt Lawton, CF2000000
    Jeremy Reed, CF3110001
Kenji Johjima, C5111000
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS2000000
   a- Roberto Petagine, PH0000000
   b- Willie Bloomquist, PH-SS3120002
Totals41594219 
a-announced for Betancourt in the 8th
b-singled for Petagine in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jeremy Reed (, Garcia), Willie Bloomquist (, Cotts)
SF - Carl Everett ()
RBI - Jose Lopez 2 (), Carl Everett (), Kenji Johjima ()
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Sexson-Beltre-Meche
Seattle Mariners
Gil Meche 6333410
Rafael Soriano (BS,) 1.1211021
George Sherrill (H,) 0.1000000
J.J. Putz (H,) 0.1000010
Eddie Guardado (BS,) 1111021
Sean Green 0.2000100
Jake Woods (L,-) 1211100
IBB - Pierzynski by Gil Meche
Pitches-Strikes - Gil Meche 96-49, Rafael Soriano 23-14, George Sherrill 4-3, J.J. Putz 6-4, Eddie Guardado 13-9, Sean Green 11-4, Jake Woods 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gil Meche 10-5, George Sherrill 1-0, Eddie Guardado 1-0, Sean Green 1-1, Jake Woods 1-2
Batters Faced - Gil Meche 23, Rafael Soriano 6, George Sherrill 1, J.J. Putz 1, Eddie Guardado 4, Sean Green 3, Jake Woods 6
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF4000102
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B5010011
Jim Thome, DH2100301
Paul Konerko, 1B5110023
A.J. Pierzynski, C4110110
Joe Crede, 3B5114001
Rob Mackowiak, CF-RF3000011
   a- Pablo Ozuna, PH-RF2221000
Juan Uribe, SS5011011
Ross Gload, RF3010000
    Brian Anderson, CF0000100
Totals386866610 
a-homered for Mackowiak in the 9th
Batting
2B - Paul Konerko (, Meche), Pablo Ozuna (, Woods)
HR - Joe Crede (, Soriano), Pablo Ozuna (, Guardado)
RBI - Joe Crede 4 (), Pablo Ozuna (), Juan Uribe ()
2-OUT RBI - Pablo Ozuna (), Juan Uribe ()
SB - Ross Gload (, 2nd base off Soriano/Johjima)
PK - Scott Podsednik (, Meche)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Iguchi-Uribe-Konerko
E - Tadahito Iguchi (, Wild throw), Paul Konerko (, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago White Sox
Freddy Garcia 7533010
Matt Thornton (H,) 0.1111000
Cliff Politte (BS,) 0.2110200
Neal Cotts 1.2100000
Bobby Jenks (W,-) 1.1100000
IBB - Ibanez by Cliff Politte, by Everett
HBP - J. Lopez (by Freddy Garcia)
Pitches-Strikes - Freddy Garcia 79-51, Matt Thornton 14-10, Cliff Politte 20-9, Neal Cotts 25-15, Bobby Jenks 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Freddy Garcia 11-8, Matt Thornton 1-0, Cliff Politte 2-0, Neal Cotts 3-2, Bobby Jenks 4-1
Batters Faced - Freddy Garcia 26, Matt Thornton 2, Cliff Politte 5, Neal Cotts 6, Bobby Jenks 6
Game Information
Attendance - 27569
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Jerry Crawford, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Brian O'Nora