McLouth blast in 8th lifts O’s past Sox 4-3 to end six game winning streak

BALTIMORE—Nate McLouth and Lew Ford added their names to the Baltimore Orioles’ rapidly expanding list of unlikely heroes.McLouth put Baltimore ahead with a two-run homer in the eighth inning, Ford also connected, and the Orioles beat the White Sox 4-3 on Monday night, ending the Southsider’s six-game winning streak.It was the franchise-record 13th consecutive one-run win for the Orioles, who trailed 2-1 in the sixth and 3-2 in the eighth. Baltimore is 24-6 in one-run games and 45-18 in games decided by one or two runs.

“This is as good of a club as I’ve ever had about staying in the moment,” said manager Buck Showalter, now 173-173 since being hired on Aug. 3, 2010. “That’s a challenge when you are around so many things that aren’t really realistic, to stay together and challenge the things that really are important.”

It’s hard to fathom what the Orioles (70-57) have accomplished this year following 14 straight losing seasons. It’s also difficult to imagine players like McLouth and Ford making major contributions in an important win. They were teammates with Triple-A Norfolk a month ago, and now they’re providing Baltimore with a playoff push.

“That’s why they got us up here,” said Ford, whose second-inning homer was his first in the majors since July 29, 2007, with Minnesota against Cleveland. After that season, Ford didn’t return to the big leagues until being summoned by the Orioles in late July.After the White Sox went up 3-2 in the eighth against Pedro Strop (5-2) on a run-scoring infield single by Adam Dunn, Baltimore answered in the bottom half against Brett Myers (2-2).Mark Reynolds drew a one-out walk and McLouth drove a 1-0 pitch far over the wall in right-center. It was his third RBI of the game and second home run since the Orioles purchased his contract from Norfolk on Aug. 4.

“I sure didn’t want it to go straight over the plate, which is where it went,” Myers said of the ill-fated fastball. “I wish I could have that one pitch back, but you know that isn’t going to happen.”

Asked if he ever doubted something like this could happen after being released by Pittsburgh at the end of May, McLouth replied, “Maybe. I think that’s probably fair to say. But I love playing baseball. The Orioles were gracious to give me an opportunity and I’m happy to be here. I’m excited. It’s been fun so far.”

Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his 40th save in 43 opportunities.Facing the Orioles for the first time with rhe White Sox after tormenting them as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning and singled in the eighth to set up Dunn’s RBI hit. Youkilis has a lifetime .322 batting average against Baltimore, with 23 homers and 87 RBI.

“You never want to lose a game like that,” Youkilis said. “We had the lead and Nate hit that home run.”

The duel between the first-place White Sox and the surprising Orioles – who moved within 3½ games of first-place New York in the AL East and stayed in the midst of the wild-card race — attracted a meager crowd of 10,955 on a clear night at Camden Yards.Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen gave up two runs, one earned, and four hits in six innings. He struck out eight, including A.J. Pierzynski three times.Down 1-0, the Sox took the lead in the sixth. After Chen dropped a throw to first base for an error, Youkilis homered on the next pitch.Baltimore pulled even in the bottom half. A walk to Matt Wieters and a single by Ford put runners at the corners with no outs and prompted White Sox manager Robin Ventura to replace starter Francisco Liriano with Jesse Crain, who walked Reynolds and McLouth to force in a run. Crain then got Manny Machado to hit into a force at the plate, struck out Robert Andino and retired Nick Markakis on a slow roller to shortstop.It was another missed opportunity for the Orioles, who had several in the early going.In the first inning, Markakis was tagged out by Liriano while trying to score from third on a pitch that bounced away from Pierzynski and rolled to the right of the plate.After Ford hit an opposite-field drive to right leading off the second, the Orioles loaded the bases with one out before Markakis lined into a double play.

NOTES—Gavin Floyd had a MRI on his right elbow Monday in Chicago. Ventura said no damage was found, but Floyd was scratched from Friday’s start against Detroit in favor of Jake Peavy, who was slated to pitch Wednesday. Dylan Axelrod will pitch Wednesday….Baltimore’s Adam Jones went 0 for 4 and is homerless in 108 at-bats, tying the longest drought of his career.

Brewers 9 spot in 9th turns close game into a 15-4 rout of Cubs. Joe Mather even pitches.

Aramis Ramirez spent nine years watching games from the home dugout at Wrigley Field. He enjoyed the view from the visitor’s side much better Monday night.Ramirez hit two of Milwaukee’s five homers to lead the Brewers to a 15-4 victory over the Cubs.Ramirez, who played for the Cubs from 2003-11, hit a two-run shot in the fifth and a solo homer in the ninth as Milwaukee beat the Cubs for the sixth straight time.

“In the summer it’s a great place to play baseball and be a hitter,” Ramirez said of his old ballpark.

Ramirez’s second homer followed a three-run shot by Ryan Braun that landed on Waveland Avenue, his NL-leading 35th of the season. Braun had four hits and five RBI. Corey Hart followed Ramirez with another shot that reached Waveland, giving Milwaukee back-to-back-to-back homers for the first time since Sept. 9, 2007 at Cincinnati, when Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Braun began the game with home runs.

“I don’t remember ever being a part of it other than the time we led off the game,” Braun said. “It’s not going to happen very often, so you try and enjoy that moment when it does happen.”

The Brewers sent 14 batters to the plate and tacked on nine runs and eight hits in the ninth, finishing with a season-high 21 hits.

“Obviously in the ninth inning it got out of hand,” Braun said. “But up until then it was a really close game, tightly contested.”

Utilityman Joe Mather got the final out of the inning for the Cubs, the first position player to pitch for the Cubs since Gary Gaetti on July 3, 1999.

“Fastball and a hanging curve, apparently,” Mather joked when asked to describe his repertoire.

Carlos Gomez had four hits, including his 14th homer, and all nine Brewers in the starting lineup hit safely.Marco Estrada (2-5) allowed three unearned runs over five innings and struck out eight. His only other victory this season came against the Cubs on Aug. 21, when he struck out nine in six innings.Justin Germano (2-4) gave up five runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings and has lost to Milwaukee in two straight outings. He gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Brewers in his last outing on Aug. 20.

“I made three mistakes that led to four runs,” Germano said. “It’s just hard to be perfect but I have to work on the mistakes that I make, or at least who I make them to.”

All three ninth-inning homers came off Alex Hinshaw, who was pitching for the second time since being claimed off waivers from San Diego on Aug. 19.Brett Jackson hit his third homer in four games and walked twice. Alfonso Soriano added two doubles and drove in a run.The Brewers improved to 18-5 against the Cubs since the 2011 All-Star break, while the Northsiders dropped 19 of 25 overall since the July 31 trade deadline.

“[Cubs fans] also have to understand that it’s a process and that the new front office came in with a plan and they’re going to execute it,” Ramirez said. “It’s going to be painful. Right now they don’t have a good product on the field. I’m pretty sure they’re smart people. They have a good game plan going.”

Milwaukee erased a two-run deficit on consecutive pitches in the fifth. Braun rolled a double just past the third base to score Weeks. Ramirez then clubbed Germano’s first pitch into the bleachers in left to give the Brewers the lead.Ramirez hit 239 homers in nine seasons during his time with the Cubs, but went 1 for 11 in his first series against his former team at Wrigley Field on April 9-11.Ramirez, who is 8 for 16 with eight RBI over his last four games, added an RBI double, his major league-leading 43rd double of the season.

“He’s hitting the ball every night,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “He’s hitting the ball. It’s fun to watch.”

Jackson, Chicago’s rookie center fielder, hit his fourth homer leading off the sixth off Kameron Loe to cut the lead to 5-4.

NOTES—Josh Vitters went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts, falling to 5 for 53 with 19 strikeouts since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa. … The Cubs acquired C Anthony Recker from Oakland for C/1B Blake Lalli and assigned him to Triple-A Iowa. They also designated LHP Scott Maine for assignment. … The Cubs were looking to win consecutive games for the first time since winning three straight July 28-30.


Sox take advantage of poor defense by M’s and timely weather to finish sweep of Seattle

Tyler Flowers hit a go-ahead homer just before the final downpour and the White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 in a rain-shortened game Sunday for their sixth straight victory.Immediately following a 6-minute rain delay in the seventh inning, Flowers launched a two-run shot off Kevin Millwood to lead the first-place Sox to their second consecutive series sweep.Rain continued to pour until the tarp was put on to stay two batters later, and the game was called after a wait of nearly 2 hours.The start was delayed for 1 hour, 51 minutes due to showers that persisted throughout the game before it was finally stopped.The White Sox retained their 2 1/2-game lead in the AL Central over the Tigers, who beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-2. Starter Gavin Floyd, however, left after two innings with right elbow discomfort.Capser Wells hit a two-run homer for Seattle.Nate Jones (7-0) escaped a seventh-inning jam after inheriting runners on first and third with nobody out. He earned his second win in two days.The young flamethrower struck out Trayvon Robinson looking after inducing a pair of soft popups. The Mariners had won 10 of 11 before being swept by the Sox.All three games were decided by one run.Floyd allowed a pair of singles to start the game, and Dustin Ackley scored on Jesus Montero’s infield single. Floyd limited the first-inning damage to one run despite giving up three hits and a walk.He pitched a 1-2-3 second, but did not return for the third. The team announced right elbow discomfort for the 29-year-old, who was relieved by Hector Santiago.Santiago was flawless through his first two innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth. Wells sent a 3-2 pitch into the left-center seats following Justin Smoak’s leadoff single. It was his eighth home run of the year.Millwood (4-11) allowed four runs – three earned – over 6 2-3 innings. He has just one win in his last 16 starts.Alex Rios reached 20 homers and 20 steals in the second inning when he stole second base. He later scored on Jordan Danks’ sacrifice fly.Rios joined Ray Durham and Magglio Ordonez, who both accomplished the feat in 2001, as the only White Sox players to have at least 30 doubles, 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a season.Rios also went 20-20 in 2010 with Chicago, finishing with 29 doubles.Kevin Youkilis tripled home a run in the third inning. Seattle right fielder Eric Thames misplayed the shallow liner that bounced all the way to the wall as Ray Olmedo scored from first.

NOTES—Robin Ventura was unsure if his ejection from Saturday’s win over the Mariners would yield a suspension. He was tossed in the third inning after catcher A.J. Pierzynski was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Ventura said he didn’t bump umpire Jim Joyce despite an aggressive argument. “It was more of a dance than it was a bump,” Ventura said. …Dayan Viciedo (shoulder) was out of the lineup for a second consecutive day. Ventura said Viciedo felt soreness in his right shoulder during batting practice Saturday. The injury is considered minor. … Mariners CF Michael Saunders missed a second straight start due to a groin issue. He was injured Friday. Manager Eric Wedge said he hopes Saunders can start Monday in Minnesota. The Mariners will send Felix Hernandez (12-5, 2.54 ERA) to the mound against the Twins’ Liam Hendricks (0-6, 7.06). . Francisco Liriano (5-10, 5.12) starts for the White Sox on Monday in Baltimore against Wei-Yin Chen (12-7, 3.87).

Rain doesn’t dampen Volstad’s first win as a Cub, 5-0 over Rockies.

Chris Volstad ended a 24-start winless streak Sunday, allowing three hits in 6 2-3 strong innings for his first victory in 13 months as the Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies 5-0 in a game shortened to eight innings by rain.Volstad (1-9), acquired from Miami for Carlos Zambrano, earned his first win since he beat Houston while pitching for the Marlins on July 10, 2011. The major league record for consecutive winless starts is 28, shared by Jo-Jo Reyes, Matt Keough and Cliff Curtis. Volstad was taken out to an ovation in the seventh after former Cub Tyler Colvin doubled with two outs and Chris Nelson walked. Manny Corpas then retired Jonathan Herrera on a fielder’s choice grounder to end the threat.

Sox hold off M’s for fifth straight,

White Sox backup catcher Tyler Flowers figured he’d have another night off. And then starter A.J. Pierzynski and manager Robin Ventura were ejected in the third inning and suddenly he was in the game.Flowers responded to the quick call Saturday night. He homered to tie the game in the sixth and later had an eighth-inning, two-strike bunt single to set up an important insurance run as the Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4 for their fifth straight win.

“I’m always ready to come in, but not usually that early. Being behind him [Pierzynski], there’s not too many opportunities to get in the game when he’s starting,” Flowers said. “It was a little different for sure, but it all worked out and we got the win. That’s the most important thing.”

Seattle took a quick first-inning lead on Kyle Seager’s three-run homer before the White Sox rallied to preserve their 2½-game lead over second-place Detroit in the AL Central.Seager also connected in the ninth against closer Addison Reed to get the Mariners to within a run.Pierzynski was ejected for apparently arguing balls and strikes with one out in the top of the third. When Ventura charged out of the dugout to protest, he also was ejected and had to be separated from plate umpire Lance Barrett by third base umpire and crew chief Jim Joyce.

“You have A.J. out there and your guy gets thrown out. You’re out there protecting him,” Ventura said. “I didn’t think I was that mad. It’s just part of baseball. It’s what you do.”

Pierzynski didn’t reveal what he said to Barrett, joking they were disagreeing on pizza crusts.

“It’s over with. It was between him and I,” Pierzynski said, adding that the normally mild-mannered Ventura’s outburst gave the team a spark. “I’ve never seen Robin get that mad. It was one of those things that happens during the course of the season and fortunately for us we were able to win the game.”

Nate Jones (6-0) got the final out of the sixth to get the win. Reed gave up Seager’s 15th homer and then a single to Justin Smoak before getting the final out for his 24th save in 28 chances.Reed blew a save Friday night when Seattle scored six times in the ninth only to get the win when the Sox rallied in the bottom half.Flowers off the sixth with his fifth homer of the season — a drive to center on the first pitch of the inning by Blake Beavan. With two down and Alexei Ramirez on third, Dewayne Wise singled to center against off Charlie Furbush to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead.The Mariners loaded the bases in the seventh off Matt Thornton on a single, hit batsman and a walk. Brett Myers relieved and retired pinch-hitter John Jaso on a soft liner to second baseman Gordon Beckham to end the inning.The Sox added an important run in the eighth on Alex Rios’ double, a bunt single by Flowers and Ramirez’s sacrifice fly.Starter Jose Quintana was wild in the first inning, issuing four walks. Dustin Ackley beat out an infield single to lead off and Trayvon Robinson walked. One out later, Seager hit a drive to deep right-center.

“We had them on the ropes there that first inning, maybe just a couple swings from getting them out of that ballgame early. It completely changes the complexion of the whole game,” Seager said.

After Seager’s homer, Quintana walked the bases loaded before getting Brendan Ryan to fly out to end the inning.The White Sox got one back in the first on Paul Konerko’s RBI single and another in the third on a run-scoring single by Rios.And Quintana settled in after his shaky start, retiring 12 straight at one point. He made it through 5 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and three runs with four walks and four strikeouts.

“We missed some opportunities. [Quintana] did settle down,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “We came out, we were aggressive, we took the lead. It hurt us when they scored in that first inning, but we still had 3-1 in that situation. Then it was just a matter of missed opportunities. We had multiple opportunities to score runs, we had multiple opportunities to execute. It didn’t go down.”

Beavan (8-8), who was the losing pitcher in April when Phil Humber pitched a perfect game in Seattle for the White Sox, went five-plus innings, giving up seven hits and four runs.

NOTES—Mariners OF Michael Saunders, who collided with Eric Thames on Konerko’s winning single Friday night, was out of the lineup with a sore groin. Thames also was out but not because he was injured. He didn’t start with the lefty Quintana on the mound. He had a pinch-hit single in the eighth. … White Sox LF Dayan Viciedo was scratched with a sore right shoulder. … Ventura’s ejection was his third in his first season as manager. … The White Sox are 23-4 against the Mariners since the start of the 2010 season.

Rockies return favor, rally for one run win over Cubs

Carlos Gonzalez used his speed to beat out a potential double-play ball in the seventh inning and drive in the go-ahead run in the Colorado Rockies’ 4-3 victory over the Cubs on Saturday.Andrew Brown hit his first career homer and pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge had a two-run shot for Colorado, which has won six of seven. Carlos Torres (3-1) threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings as four Rockies relievers combined for five innings of one-hit ball.Brett Jackson hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, who have lost five of six and seven of nine.Jackson connected in the Cubs’ three-run fourth inning against Alex White. Jackson’s second homer in two days came right after third baseman Chris Nelson’s error allowed Alfonso Soriano to score the first run of the game.Rutledge hit for White in the fifth and drove the first pitch he saw from Brooks Raley over the wall in left, trimming the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Rutledge has been out of the starting lineup since Aug. 19 with a sore quadriceps.Raley, recalled from Triple-A Iowa before the game, allowed five hits, struck out four and walked three.Brown hit a tying drive off Manuel Corpas in the sixth, and the Rockies grabbed the lead for good in the seventh. With runners on first and third and one out, Gonzalez hit a grounder to first baseman Anthony Rizzo and beat the return throw from shortstop Starlin Castro, allowing DJ LeMahieu to come home.Corpas (0-1) was charged with two runs in 1 1-3 innings as the Cubs dropped to 5-18 in August.

NOTES—Reliever Alex Hinshaw made his Cubs debut when he pitched to Gonzalez in the seventh. The Cubs claimed Hinshaw off waivers from the San Diego Padres on Aug. 19. … The Cubs optioned LHP Chris Rusin (0-1, 1.80 ERA) to Triple-A Iowa before the game. Rusin is expected to return to the majors when rosters expand in September.. Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki (groin) and 1B Jason Giambi (viral syndrome) began rehab assignments with Double-A Tulsa on Friday. Tulowitzki went 1 for 3 with a double in five innings. Giambi went 1 for 3 with an RBI. .Rockies OF Dexter Fowler (ankle) is closer to taking batting practice and might be available this weekend, manager Jim Tracy said. .Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he doesn’t expect the team to call up many players in September. “I don’t think it’ll be an overwhelming amount, but just enough to help us out in September where we can do some things roster-wise during the game and pinch hit, three to four pitchers to help out,” Sveum said.

Bears beat Giants 20-17 but questions remain with one Pre Season contest left.

EAST RUTHERFORD—With a game left in the preseason, coach Lovie Smith still wants to see more from the Bears, especially on offense.Backup Jason Campbell threw a go-ahead, 12-yard touchdown pass to Joe Anderson with 8:22 to play and the Bears rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat the Super Bowl champion New York Giants 20-17 on Friday night.

“We hung in there and found a way to win at the end,” Smith said. “We got some things accomplished. No major injuries. We wanted to see where we are against the Super Bowl champions.”

The truth was the first team was just OK. The Bears (2-1) knocked off the Giants (1-2) because their second team was better than New York’s backups.

“It was hit and miss,” Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler said. “We did some good things but we missed some communication stuff. We got to get the running game going. We’ve got to get Matt (Forte) going. We’re not going to be a successful offense if we can’t run the ball.”

Cutler had one good series in the first half, hitting Brandon Marshall with a 21-yard, first-quarter touchdown pass along the right sideline to briefly put the Bears ahead 7-3.

“Me and Brandon are working on a few things,” said Cutler, who was 9 of 21 for 96 yards. “Everything is a little bit off a count in the passing game. We made some plays but we missed stuff. It’s easily fixed but it needs to be fixed in the next week.”

Marshall had a team-high five catches for 51 yards.

“The only people that can really stop us is us,” Marshall said. “You’ve got to give respect to that defense, especially that front four. Give respect but tonight it was on our side.”

Robbie Gould kicked two field goals for the Bears and Isaiah Frey intercepted a pass in the end zone with 1:06 to play to preserve the win.Eli Manning threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ramses Barden, Andre Brown scored on a 1-yard run and Lawrence Tynes kicked a 32-yard field goal for New York.

“We had some good plays, but we left a couple things out there,” said Manning, who was 17 of 21 for 148 yards. “But overall I thought it was pretty good.”

The Giants threatened in the final minutes with David Carr moving them to the Bears 38. A roughing-the-passer penalty nullified an interception on the ensuing play and a 10-yard pass to Isaiah Stanback got the ball to the Bear 12. However, Anthony Walters tipped a pass to DePalma in the end zone and Frey made the interception.

“It came down to a play at the end and we were not able to make it,” Carr said. “I should have thrown the ball away.”

Campbell, who came into the game battling Josh McCown for the Bears’ backup job, may have won it, completing 12 of 19 passes for 101 yards and leading two scoring drives.Down 17-7 at the half, Cutler took the opening series of the second half for the Bears and led them on a quick, seven-play, 59-yard march that Gould capped with a 30-yard field goal.Campbell took the Bears 39 yards on the next drive, with Gould hitting from 48. A third-down pass interference penalty against safety Stevie Brown kept the drive alive.The game-winning drive for the Bears was 11 plays covering 58 yards. Campbell converted on three third-down passes, the last going to Anderson, who broke a tackle by Bruce Johnson to get into the end zone.The biggest thing to come out of the game for the Giants was the play of rookie running back David Wilson and another good game from New York’s defense, which limited the Bears to a touchdown in the first half.Wilson, who started because Ahmad Bradshaw bruised a hand last week against the Jets, was not only exciting, gaining 49 yards on five carries, but if he can play like this, New York will have a running game to accompany Manning’s passing.Wilson had runs of 20 and 15 yards and rambled 29 yards with a short pass on consecutive plays to set up Tynes’ 32-yard field goal with 5:04 left in the opening quarter.Cutler led the Bears on a 59-yard, seven-play scoring drive right after the field goal. A 19-yard run by Devin Hester on an end around got things going and the veteran Bears quarterback finished it off with a perfect throw down the right sideline to Marshall for a 21-yard touchdown.Giants safety Kenny Phillips seemingly had a chance to make a play on the ball, but he took a bad angle and Marshall ran past him to make the catch for a 7-3 lead.New York starting cornerback Prince Amukamara sustained a right high ankle sprain on the series and did not return.Manning and Barden, who is fighting to make the roster, made the big plays for the Giants in a 14-point second quarter that put New York ahead 17-7 at the half.Manning hit all seven of his passes in a 10-play, 58 yard touchdown drive that ended with an 11-yard pass to Barden, who also had a 13-yard reception on the drive. The Super Bowl MVP also converted two third-down passes to Victor Cruz and new tight end Martellus Bennett to the march alive.Second-year running back Da’Rel Scott set up the second touchdown, blocking a punt by Ryan Quigley at the Bears 10. A pass interference on Charles Tillman in the end zone against Barden put the ball at the 1 and Brown scored on the next play.

NOTES—The Bears close out the Pre Season Thursday night against the Browns in Cleveland.

Sox and Mariners Bullpens take turns blowing leads in 9th, but Sox win

Stunned by a monumental bullpen collapse, the White Sox showed their resolve and validated their position atop the AL Central.Paul Konerko’s single with one out in the bottom of the ninth — his third hit of the game — gave the Sox a dramatic 9-8 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.The Sox bullpen imploded and allowed six runs in the top of the ninth before the White Sox rallied for two runs in the bottom half to snap Seattle’s eight-game winning streak.

“From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in about a two-minute span,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “It was fun. Obviously it was a huge win, not only for the way that it happened because of everything that’s going on with the pennant race and everything. It’s a huge team win.We feel bad because of the way we blew it, but you feel great because of the way we won it.”

Kevin Youkilis singled to drive in the tying run off Tom Wilhelmsen (4-3), and Konerko lined a gapper to the opposite field. Outfielders Michael Saunders and Eric Thames collided as the ball popped out of Thames’ glove and Dewayne Wise crossed the plate.

“I had a pretty good beat on it,” Thames said. “I looked up and I saw [Saunders] running and I went for it and I caught it, but my elbow hit him and it was a pretty bad collision. I caught it, spun around and the ball [went flying].”

Addison Reed (3-1) earned the win despite blowing his fourth save.Adam Dunn hit two home runs to increase his major league-leading total to 38 and Alexei Ramirez homered and drove in three runs for the White Sox.

“It’s a nice win to a horrible loss to a good win again,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s just good for the guys to go out there and battle back when it looks bleak.”

Trayvon Robinson and Jesus Montero homered for Seattle.Jake Peavy pitched seven strong innings as the Sox extended their lead in the AL Central to 2½ games with Detroit losing to Los Angeles.Montero homered off Phil Humber leading off the ninth. After a one-out walk, he was relieved by Donnie Veal, who allowed a double to Robinson.Reed entered with two on and one out and walked Brendan Ryan to load the bases. Dustin Ackley hit a two-run single, Kyle Seager hit a sacrifice fly and John Jaso had the big blow with a single over second baseman Gordon Beckham’s head to tie the game.Saunders scored on an errant throw by right fielder Alex Rios to give Seattle the 8-7 lead.The Sox surrendered a lead of five runs or more in the ninth inning or later for the first time since May 28, 1998 at Detroit, according to White Sox media relations.Ramirez added a two-run homer for the Sox, who won their fourth straight following a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees.Seattle has lost 22 of its last 26 games against the White Sox, spanning the last three seasons.

“It was a great comeback by our guys, that’s what I’m thinking about right now,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “It was an emotional last inning. Obviously went back and forth, but to come back down five runs down and score six against a good team like we’re playing, it says a lot about our guys and how far they’ve come.”

Seattle lost for just the second time in 12 games.Dunn hit a solo homer in the first inning and a two-run shot in the third off Seattle southpaw Jason Vargas.It was Dunn’s third multihomer run game this season and the 33rd of his career.Ramirez went deep in the fourth inning to give the White Sox a 6-2 lead.He also had a two-out RBI single in second. Ramirez is hitting .389 with two outs and a runner on third this season.Peavy had received fewer than three runs’ support per game over his last 12 starts, but the 31-year-old enjoyed the rare offense as he recovered from a bumpy start to continue his own dominance of the Mariners.Ackley jumped on Peavy immediately with a first-pitch double leading off the game and came around to score on Saunders’ RBI single.Robinson hit a two-out, solo home run in the second inning. The dead-center field shot was his first of the season, but Peavy put up zeros the next five frames to send the Mariners to just their second loss in 12 contests.Robinson and Ackley had three hits apiece and Ackley drove in two runs.Peavy was charged with two runs and seven hits over seven innings. He is 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA in nine career starts against Seattle.Vargas lasted just four innings, his shortest outing of the season. He allowed six runs and seven hits – including three home runs.Vargas was 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA over his previous 10 starts before running into the homer-happy Sox bats, which have hit a league-best 41 homers in the month of August.

NOTES—Alejandro De Aza (oblique) resumed baseball activities Friday. Ventura said he anticipates a rehab assignment before the 28-year-old is activated….    Mariners OF Franklin Gutierrez (concussion) served as the DH in a Triple-A rehab game with Tacoma. He is expected to play in the field on Saturday….RHP Blake Beavan (8-7, 5.00 ERA) will start Saturday for the Mariners against White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (5-2, 2.76).

Samardzija solid as Cubs rally past Astros

Jeff Samardzija keeps getting more experience in his first season as a starting pitcher, and Friday was a positive step.The Cubs right-hander rebounded after allowing three runs in the first three innings in a 5-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.Joe Mather took advantage of a rare start with a go-ahead single during a three-run rally in the eighth inning and the Cubs ended a four-game losing streak.The Rockies had matched a season best with a five-game winning streak.

“There have been times I had good stuff and it’s gone smoothly and then I come out early like that and scuffle and really not have fastball command or a slider all game,” Samardzija said. “To get through the end of seven innings felt really good, just felt like a starting pitcher, consciously understanding what’s there and not there,” he said.

Samardzija gave up two earned runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out seven.The Cubs 3-2 going into the eighth before Brett Jackson led off with his second homer of the season.Pinch hitter Luis Valbuena doubled with one out and Mather, batting in the leadoff spot usually occupied by David DeJesus, followed with an RBI single against reliever Matt Belisle (3-5).Mather later scored on reliever Matt Reynolds’ throwing error to first on Anthony Rizzo’s grounder.James Russell (6-1) got two outs for the win and Carlos Marmol closed for his 16th save.The Rockies scored in the first on an error by shortstop Starlin Castro, a single by Jordan Pacheco and a wild pitch.Chris Nelson made it 2-0 in the second with his sixth homer. Carlos Gonzalez led off the third with his 21st homer and first since July 23.

“He was able to settle down,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Samardzija. “He’s grown a lot, especially in the last four, five, six starts. You start seeing a guy who’s learning what to do in situations, how to get quicker outs.”

The Cubs were hitless until Alfonso Soriano led off the fifth with his 23rd home run, connecting against Drew Pomeranz. Welington Castillo homered later in the inning to cut the Rockies’ lead to 3-2.Pomeranz left after the fifth. The home runs were the only hits he allowed.

“I felt great today,” he said. “Velocity was good, location was good. I think Castillo hit that ball pretty good, but I didn’t think Soriano’s ball was going out.”

The Cubs are 5-17 in August.

“You leave them hanging around like that and they have a chance,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “We weren’t able to do much offensively. We hit two balls out of the ballpark with nobody on. That’s pretty much what we did.”

NOTES—Sveum opted for Mather to lead off against LHP Pomeranz, giving DeJesus a day off. “We’ll keep everybody else in their slot and see what happens,” he said. “We haven’t seen many lefties in a while, so we’ll give Joe a few at-bats.”….Pomeranz was the first lefty starter the Cubs faced since Aug. 8 in a 2-0 loss to San Diego’s Clayton Richard….Colorado 3B coach Rich Dauer will be inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame on Saturday. He played for the 1983 World Series champion Orioles….Rockies OF Dexter Fowler (ankle) is off crutches and will likely not be in the lineup during the Cubs series. He could possibly pinch hit Sunday, Tracy said…..Colorado INF Josh Rutledge (quadriceps) is doing better, but is heavily taped and progressing slowly and won’t be pushed, Tracy said.

Sale shuts down Yanks, Rios homers for 2-1 win.

Chris Sale’s pitches were giving the New York Yankees fits from the outset. Even his catcher was surprised by the way the ball was moving.

“I’ll call one and he’ll throw it 85 [mph] and then next one will be 94. One cuts, one sinks, one goes straight. It’s just kind of a guessing game for me out there also,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said after Sale struck out 13 in 7 2/3 innings Wednesday night, pitching the White Sox to a 2-1 victory and a three-game sweep.

Sale allowed three hits, one a homer by Derek Jeter, in 7 2/3 innings to get his 15th victory. He left to a rousing ovation after 109 pitches.

“I felt great. Obviously I wanted to stay in there but late in game like that and when [the] pitch count gets up, adrenaline will get you through it. You want to finish the job you started,” he said.

The 23-year-old Sale, who was sent to the bullpen for one game this season before returning to the rotation, agreed that his performance was perhaps the best of his young career.

“If it’s not, it’s up there for sure,” said Sale, a first-round draft pick in 2010. “That’s one to build on. Just try to use it for my next outing.”

Sale (15-4) outpitched New York’s Phil Hughes, who went seven innings and gave up Alex Rios’ go-ahead homer in the sixth. Addison Reed worked the ninth for his 23rd save in 26 chances.

“He’s funky. He’s got a funky motion. He’s especially tough on lefties. He throws hard,” Jeter said of Sale. “His fastball moves, a lot of off-speed pitches, which is surprising considering how hard he throws. He can overpower you when he needs to, but we didn’t get much going off of him at all.”

New York’s loss and Tampa Bay’s victory over Kansas City reduced the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to three games, their smallest since before play on June 26.

“That’s what you go through. The season isn’t over after 120 [games], it’s not over after 140, you have to play 162,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The win gave the White Sox their first three-game sweep of the Yankees at home since 1991, the year U.S. Cellular Field (then known as new Comiskey Park) opened.

“They just beat us. Flat out. Today, Chris Sale was pretty incredible,” New York first baseman Mark Teixeira said.

Jeter hit his 13th homer to tie the game 1-1 in the top of the sixth. But Rios responded in the bottom half with his 20th homer to put the Sox ahead.Hughes (12-11) allowed five hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts.The Sox scored first for the first time in the series when Gordon Beckham doubled, Dewayne Wise reached on a bunt single and Kevin Youkilis hit a sacrifice fly in the third.

NOTES—Jeter acknowledged that it takes extra time now to get ready and at age 38 he’s making it work with a standout season that seen him climb to No. 11 on the all-time hits list. He has also surpassed 250 career homers. “You got to get here a little earlier and stay a little longer. I’m sure that applies to most people who are standing here right now,” Jeter said Wednesday. “I think that’s normal, that’s for everyone. My fifth year wasn’t like my first year, just like this year isn’t like five years ago.” ….Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte (fractured left ankle) threw off of flat ground on Wednesday, and is scheduled to throw again on Saturday. Pettitte said he is building toward getting on a mound, but is “not quite there yet.” There is no timetable for his return…..Adam Dunn of the White Sox struck out in the third for a club-record 178th time, breaking the mark he set last season. Dunn fanned a career-high 199 times in 2010 with the Nationals.