Austin Jackson's rips into left field were all the Mariners needed to produce a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon in front of 27,236 at Safeco Field.
Off nearly identical base hits in the second and seventh innings, Jackson drove in all four Mariners runs. The four runs batted in tied Jackson's career high.
Before Jackson got to the plate in the second, Logan Morrison started everything off with a long single that kicked off the right-field wall. Chris Taylor followed with a short ground ball that White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham grabbed for but missed. And Jesus Sucre loaded the bases after Chicago's Conor Gillaspie mistimed his own grab of Sucre's hit to shallow left.
Then Jackson stepped to the plate, with two outs, and doubled into left field to clear the bases, giving Seattle a 3-0 lead.
"That's a big situation," Jackson said. "Just put the ball into play, not try to do too much in those situations. I was able to get a pitch out over the plate and got a good swing on it. I found the corner."
Finding that corner showed how much Jackson has found himself on this team, after being traded from the Tigers right before the July 31 deadline. McClendon spoke of how much Jackson is settling into the team, after playing nine games for Seattle (62-55).
His offensive performance Sunday only solidified that.
"He's throwing the bat extremely well," McClendon said. "That's the type of hitter he is. He's a slasher."
In the bottom of the seventh, Jackson slashed another one to left field and knocked in Taylor, who was on second because of a walk and a Sucre sacrifice bunt.
That hit gave Jackson his sixth three-hit game this season and a career batting average of .429 (21 of 49) against White Sox pitcher John Danks.
"I've thrown everything I know to," Danks said. "I thought about taking my glove off and firing one in there right-handed just to give him another look. He's hit some good pitches off of me."
Chicago (56-63) got its offense from a Tyler Flowers solo home run in the top of the eighth and an Alexei Ramirez score in the ninth. Gillaspie popped a fast single into center field that pitcher Fernando Rodney couldn't get a hand on, allowing Ramirez to run home.
Erasmo Ramirez, who was recalled from Class AAA Tacoma and optioned back after the game, got the start for the Mariners and pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two, allowed four hits and walked one.
McClendon pulled Ramirez in the middle of Beckham's at-bat because McClendon thought Ramirez was "out of gas." Dominic Leone (1 2/3 innings) and Tom Wilhelmsen (2 innings) followed before yielding to Rodney. That's when a potential closeout got interesting.
After Ramirez scored his run in the top of the ninth, narrowing the Mariners' lead to 4-2, Flowers, who hit the previous home run, stepped up to bat. With two strikeouts on his stat sheet, Rodney hit Flowers with the pitch and loaded the bases for Chicago.
But the crisis was averted after Rodney struck out Jordan Danks on the next at-bat.
With the win, their fifth in six games, the Mariners maintained their position in the hunt for the final AL wild-card spot.
"We're good," McClendon said. "We've got a chance to do something special. Our guys believe. I hope our fans do, too."
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