SEATTLE -- When he arrived at Safeco Field on Friday for the series-opener against the Mariners, White Sox right fielder Alex Rios said the pitcher-friendly park could actually be to a batter's advantage. That is, if a batter hit line drives to the expansive outfield.
With one swing of the bat on Sunday, Rios gave a first-hand example of how to take advantage of the spacious field.
Rios hit a game-tying, two-run triple in the sixth, scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly and the White Sox (9-6) went on to beat the Mariners (7-10), 7-4, on Sunday afternoon for a series sweep.
Rios tripled home Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski with one out in the sixth to tie the score at 4-4 and chase Seattle starter Kevin Millwood. He scored a play later on a sacrifice fly by Kosuke Fukudome to center, easily beating Chone Figgins' throw home.
"He's been doing that for the past four or five days -- he's been staying in the middle of the field, looks good at the plate," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Just covering a lot of different things, he's not just hitting fastballs, but offspeed pitches. He's kind of doing everything; pull the inside pitch, go the other way on something away, so it's something he's kind of been working on. He just looks very comfortable at the plate, and confident."
"That was a big one there," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of the triple. "But that's where we've got to come right back and go get 'em. You give it up like that, you've got to come right back and answer, and we didn't do that."
The White Sox added a couple of insurance runs in the eighth on a pair of RBI singles by Rios and Fukudome. Rios ran his hitting streak to 10 games with the 3-for-4 performance that also included three RBIs. Fukudome, getting a rare start in the outfield, picked up a pair of RBIs himself.
The Chicago three-run sixth came just two frames after the Mariners took their first lead of the series. Seattle scored twice in the fourth, capitalizing on an errant pickoff attempt by White Sox pitcher John Danks.
With one out and runners on first and second, Danks threw wide of White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn, who was standing in front of the bag, not expecting the throw. Before second baseman Gordon Beckham could corral the ball along the right-field fence, Miguel Olivo had scored from second and Casper Wells had advanced to third.
The Mariners extended their lead to 4-2 when Dustin Ackley scored Wells with a fielders choice grounder to second base. But Danks was able to induce Ichiro Suzuki into a groundout and retire Jesus Montero swinging to end the threat.
"He grinds -- it's the one thing, the kind of pitcher he is," Ventura said. "Kind of battle it out with the other team; kind of keep them off balance.
"Going back and forth with his changeup and spotting his fastball, so sometimes it looks like a grind, but that's just the way he pitches. He has a lot of guts when he goes out there."
Danks (2-2) threw 94 pitches in six innings of work. He gave up seven hits, four walks and four runs, but was able to get out of jams in what seemed like every inning. In fact, he stranded at least one runner on base in each of the six innings he pitched.
More importantly, he kept Chicago in the game before handing it over to a bullpen that's been lights out recently. Addison Reed, Matt Thornton and Hector Santiago each pitched a scoreless inning Sunday to stretch the White Sox bullpen's streak to 12 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
"I've been saying this all along, this is a tough group of guys," Danks said. "Even if we're down late, we're going to give a fight, and today we proved that again. Like I said, it's a good win. Wasn't pretty, but a win's a win at the end of the day."