CHICAGO (AP)Pitching on a wet, humid night in Chicago, Yusei Kikuchi delivered once again.
The Japanese left-hander is good everywhere he goes these days.
Kikuchi turned in another road gem and Luis Torrens homered twice, helping the Seattle Mariners beat Carlos Rodon and the White Sox 9-3 on Friday.
Led by Kikuchi and Torrens, Seattle opened a six-game trip with its ninth win in 11 games. Jake Fraley also went deep for the Mariners, and Jake Bauers had a run-scoring single.
”It seemed like almost every inning we had guys out there on base or in scoring position,” manager Scott Servais said. ”So, really like what we’re doing offensively.”
Kikuchi allowed one run and two hits in 5 2/3 innings while improving to 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA over his last six starts. Kikuchi (5-3) has been one of the AL’s best road pitchers this year with a 3-1 record and a 2.89 ERA in eight such starts, but it seems as if he is enjoying success in all situations at the moment.
”I don’t necessarily think that I do feel more comfortable or pitch better on the road or anything like that,” he said through a translator. ”I feel like my recent outings at home have been pretty solid as well.”
Torrens hit a two-run shot in the second and another two-run drive in the seventh for his first career multihomer game. The 25-year-old Torrens is batting .429 (9 for 21) with five homers and nine RBIs in six games since he was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on June 14.
”My mindset is attack every pitch,” he said.
AL Central-leading Chicago welcomed a crowd of 32,189 for what it dubbed ”Reopening Night” – its first home game without COVID-19-related attendance restrictions since the 2019 season. But Carlos Rodon (6-3) struggled with his location, and the White Sox lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Yasmani Grandal’s second-inning homer accounted for Chicago’s only run against Kikuchi (5-3), who struck out six and walked four.
”It was a struggle. I do think their starter pitched well, and I think their relievers threw the ball well,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. ”Didn’t make it any easier for us.”
Grandal’s 12th homer trimmed Seattle’s lead to 2-1, but Bauers drove in Ty France with his two-out single in the third and Fraley connected for a two-run homer in the sixth.
Rodon labored through five innings in his first loss since May 26. The lefty allowed three runs and five hits, struck out eight and walked four.
”Definitely made it tough today to put them away. They battled,” said Rodon, who pitched five scoreless innings at Seattle in his first start of the year on April 5.
Mariners: RHP Justin Dunn is going to see a specialist about the strained muscle in his right shoulder. Servais said he thinks the meeting was Friday, and the team could get an update on Dunn this weekend. … Servais said 1B Evan White is still trying to determine a plan of action after he had a setback in his recovery from a hip flexor injury while on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma. … CF Kyle Lewis (right knee surgery) got his stitches removed and is picking up his rehab. ”Positive feedback from Kyle, but still a long ways away from picking up any baseball activity,” Servais said.
White Sox: 3B Yoan Moncada rolled his left ankle late in the game, but he stayed in. … RHP Michael Kopech (strained left hamstring) threw 26 pitches during a simulated game. ”Saw exciting progress. Arm had that life,” La Russa said. Kopech is expected to throw another simulated game on Monday. He could be activated once the team thinks he is ready, or he could head to Triple-A Charlotte for a rehab stint.
Mariners rookie Logan Gilbert (2-2, 4.50 ERA) and White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn (7-3, 2.14 ERA) start on Saturday. Gilbert, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, is 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in three June starts. Lynn was tagged for six runs and eight hits in four innings during a 7-3 loss at Houston on Saturday.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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