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SEATTLE (AP) — This time around, the Seattle Mariners didn't let their lead slip away. Almost, but not quite.
Robinson Cano had a two-run homer and Nelson Cruz doubled in two runs to help the Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox 8-6 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
"Like I told the guys in the dugout, it's good to end it up with a happy Sunday," Cano said. "You can have a nice evening. You don't have to go to bed and, 'What do we have to do win a game?'"
Seattle — which lost in extra innings on Saturday night after blowing a two-run lead in the ninth — built a 7-1 lead through five innings, but the White Sox cut it to 7-6 with five runs in the sixth behind a pair of two-run homers.
"It's always nice to compete, make it a closer ballgame, but we came up a little bit short," said LaRoche, whose 12th homer brought the White Sox within a run.
Adam Eaton singled with one out in the sixth and scored on Tyler Saladino's double. Jose Abreu followed with his 23rd home run. After Melky Cabrera grounded out, Avisail Garcia singled, chasing starter Taijuan Walker. Logan Kensing, called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Tacoma, relieved and allowed a two-run homer to LaRoche.
"I felt good. I felt really good, actually," Walker said. "Just had a little hiccup there in the sixth inning and kind of got away from the game plan after we got that big lead. I was throwing too much soft instead of going right after them and keeping the same thing we were doing the whole game."
The Mariners added a run in the eighth on Ketel Marte's sacrifice fly.
Walker (9-7) got the victory despite allowing five runs on seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. Tom Wilhelmsen pitched a perfect ninth for his third save. John Danks (6-11) was tagged for seven runs on eight hits in five innings, dropping his road record to 2-8 with a 6.48 ERA in 12 road starts.
"I was behind a lot, deep counts trying to work my way back into it," Danks said. "I've just got to be better at that."
Cruz doubled in two runs to key a four-run third as the Mariners erased a 1-0 deficit. Mark Trumbo doubled to open, advanced on Brad Miller's sacrifice and scored on Jesus Sucre's single. After Marte struck out, Austin Jackson singled and Cruz followed with a two-run double to right-center to make it 3-1. Franklin Gutierrez singled home Cruz.
In the fifth, Marte reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and came home on Jackson's single to make it 5-1. With two out, Cano hit his 14th home run, a two-run shot over the wall in right.
"He elevated some balls and they put some good swings on it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Danks. "In the third, it just seemed like his ball was up, and they put good hacks on it and got something going. The big one was the home run from Cano. I think anytime he elevates and doesn't work down in the zone, there's going to be some issues."
The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the second when LaRoche lined a one-out double to right and Alexei Ramirez followed with an RBI single.
White Sox: Chicago opens a seven-game homestand with a three-game series against the Red Sox. Right-hander Jeff Samardzija (8-9, 4.64 ERA) starts the opener. He has lost his last four starts, with his ERA climbing from 3.94 at the end of July. Right-hander Joe Kelly (6-6, 5.37) starts for Boston.
Mariners: Red-hot Hisashi Iwakuma (5-2, 3.74) opens a three-game series at home against Oakland. Over his last four starts, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA, including a no-hitter against Baltimore on Aug. 12. The Athletics counter with left-hander Felix Doubront (0-0, 2.70 ERA).
Mariners: RF Mark Trumbo, a last-minute scratch on Saturday night with a sore left knee, was back in the starting lineup. "He feels a lot better today," manager Lloyd McClendon said.
CRUZ ON BASE (AGAIN)
Cruz's third-inning double extended his on-base streak to a career-high 33 consecutive games. During the streak, Cruz is hitting .360 with nine doubles, 16 home runs and 25 RBI.
Kensing, appearing in a major league game for the first since June 19, 2013 when he was with the Rockies, pitched a scoreless inning for Tacoma in Saturday night's 7-4 victory at Colorado Springs. The Tacoma team flight to Seattle landed at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, Kensing said, and he didn't arrive at Safeco Field until the second inning.
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