SEATTLE --- Manager Robin Ventura was long gone. Bench coach Mark Parent had a head full of game scenarios and forgot the score. Outfielder Casper Wells nearly pitched. And Jake Peavy and his teammates scoured the dugout for any mojo they could find to will their teammates to victory.
It’s safe to say the White Sox went to ridiculous lengths on Wednesday afternoon to prevent the worst road trip in franchise history and snap an eight-game losing streak. Hours after they learned Peavy could miss six weeks with broken left ribs and two innings after they blew a five-run lead, the White Sox escaped Safeco Field with a 7-5 win over the Seattle Mariners in 16 innings.
Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios each had RBI singles and Addison Reed survived a five-run inning and then pitched two more innings to secure victory for the White Sox, who avoided the first winless road trip of seven games or longer in the franchise’s 113-year history.
“How bizarre is that?” Peavy said. “To score five and give up five? It was something.”
It was historic.
When Kyle Seager belted a grand slam in the bottom of the 14th to even the score at 5, it marked the first time in Major League Baseball’s history two teams who were scoreless through nine innings produced at least five runs in the same game.
Seager’s game-tying grand slam was also a first.
The 395-foot shot to right-center, the first Reed has allowed this season, was the first game-tying grand slam to be hit in extra innings in MLB history.
“You knew it was out, but I had to double check, counting the guys crossing home plate,” said Parent, who took over managerial duties in the 12th when Ventura had to leave for the airport to attend his daughter's high school graduation. “It wasn’t good.”
At that point the White Sox, who had lost all seven previous games on this trip, weren’t sure what to think.
They had forged ahead in the top of the 14th on run-scoring hits by Rios, Wells, Jeff Keppinger and Hector Gimenez and had to believe the streak was over.
“When you’ve got an eight-game losing streak and you’re down, and you’re battling, and what happened in the 14th happened, it’s like ‘How can it get any worse?’ ” said second baseman Gordon Beckham, who had four hits after the ninth inning and scored the go-ahead run in the 16th on De Aza’s single to left-center off Hector Noesi (0-1).
Fortunately for the White Sox it didn’t get worse, though they did strand the bases loaded in the 15th inning when Noesi struck out Wells and Keppinger.
But Beckham singled to center to start the 16th, stole second base and scored when De Aza’s ball sliced in front of Mariners center fielder Endy Chavez. Two batters later, Rios’ fourth hit after the 10th inning made it 7-5.
The timing was significant for Parent, who would have disallowed the DH by moving Jordan Danks to left field and putting Wells in to pitch had the game gone much longer. But he instead called upon Reed for one more inning and the closer struck out the side in order.
“Our guys never quit,” said Reed, whose 55 pitches were the most he’d thrown in a game since he started at San Diego State University. “They gave me an opportunity to close it out. It was a crazy game. I’ve never been a part of it. It’s amazing how our guys stayed focus and in the game.”
So to speak.
Peavy had endured one of these monsters before when he played for the San Diego Padres in 2008. Distraught as he is over his injury, the veteran had an idea of how to handle the 5-hour, 42-minute affair.
“We were sitting in here in the dugout, doing anything we could think of,” Peavy said. “Crossing our legs a certain way, putting towels on our head. Having a good time trying to figure it out.”
The slumping White Sox offense figured it out, but only long after the departure of Seattle starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. He limited them to three singles and never allowed a runner to reach scoring position in eight scoreless innings.
The Mariners, by contrast, blew five key chances in the game’s first six innings against White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod. Seattle had the go-ahead run on third base with one out in five of six innings but didn’t score as the White Sox turned four double plays. Reliever Hector Santiago also wiggled out of another Axelrod jam with a short fly ball and a strikeout in the sixth inning.
Santiago, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Nate Jones and Brian Omogrosso combined for 7 2/3 shutout innings of relief for the White Sox.
“Seattle certainly had their chances and Axe was Houdini there for a while,” Parent said.
With Iwakuma out, the White Sox bats came to life.
Beckham singled three times and doubled once, Rios -- who had a big outfield assist in the fourth -- singled four times and Adam Dunn drew three intentional walks for the White Sox, who put 21 of their 24 runners on base in the game’s final eight innings.
De Aza, who reached base four times in eight trips to the plate, would appreciate if the victory becomes a platform for a White Sox turnaround.
“We just kept battling ‘til the end and we didn't give up,” De Aza said. “We didn't give up, no matter what happened in the field. We just kept going. I hope this is a new start.”