CHICAGO (AP) — Josh Rojas has adapted quite nicely to life with the surging Seattle Mariners.
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Rojas hit a two-run homer and six Seattle relievers combined for five effective innings, helping the Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox 6-3 on Tuesday night for their season-high eighth straight win.
Rojas was acquired in the July 31 trade that sent closer Paul Sewald to Arizona. After getting off to a slow start with his new team, Rojas is batting .321 (9 for 28) with two homers and six RBIs in his last seven games.
“This is a really fun ballclub,” he said. “It’s loose. The main focus is winning and when we win, the team likes to have fun.”
After Bryan Woo tossed four innings of one-run ball in his return from the injured list, Seattle’s bullpen took over. Justin Topa (3-3) got four outs for the win, and Andrés Muñoz earned his eighth save by striking out Luis Robert Jr. with a runner on first.
The Mariners (71-55) moved a season-high 16 games over .500 by improving to 33-13 since July 1. They stayed in third in the AL West, a half-game game back of Houston.
“Just a grind-it-out effort by our guys tonight,” manager Scott Servais said.
Right before its eighth loss in 10 games, Chicago announced that executive vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn had been fired. The White Sox (49-77) began the year with playoff aspirations, but they got off to a 7-21 start and never recovered.
“This year has proven to be very disappointing for us all on many levels,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a release. “This has led me to the conclusion that the best decision for the organization moving forward is to make a change in our baseball department leadership.”
First-year manager Pedro Grifol called the shakeup “shocking.”
“It probably shook everybody up in there,” he said. “It’s like I said to the club, when you start the season with expectations and we don’t meet them as a group, unfortunately this stuff happens and two great men today lost their jobs after a long, long tenure here in Chicago doing a lot of great things.”
Andrew Benintendi went deep and Andrew Vaughn had two of Chicago’s 10 hits, including an RBI single. Mike Clevinger (5-6) allowed four runs and six hits in five innings.
Seattle went ahead to stay on RBI singles by Mike Ford and J.P. Crawford in the second. Ford reached on an eight-pitch walk in the fourth, and Rojas followed with a two-out drive to right-center for a 4-1 lead.
Woo allowed three hits, struck out three and walked one. The rookie had been sidelined by forearm inflammation.
“Definitely knocked off some rust in the first couple batters,” Woo said. “But just kind of found my groove after that.”
Robert nearly hit a two-run homer with two out in the fifth, but his drive to left was just foul. Third base umpire Shane Livensparger originally signaled it was fair — prompting Guaranteed Rate Field to employ its usual lights display for a White Sox homer — before changing his call. A crew chief review confirmed it was foul.
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson completed his five-game suspension for his role in his fight with Guardians slugger José Ramírez on Aug. 5.
Mariners: CF Julio Rodríguez was scratched because of an illness. Rodríguez also missed the series opener for rest. … C Cal Raleigh was shaken up after he was hit by an Elvis Andrus foul ball in the second, but he stayed in the game. … RHP Emerson Hancock (shoulder strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Hancock, one of the team’s top prospects, was the No. 6 pick in the 2020 amateur draft.
White Sox: C Seby Zavala (strained left oblique) went 1 for 4 while serving as the designated hitter in his first rehab game with Triple-A Charlotte.
Right-handers George Kirby (10-8, 3.23 ERA) and Michael Kopech (5-11, 5.12 ERA) take the mound on Wednesday afternoon for what is expected to be a sweltering series finale. Kirby is 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA in three August starts for Seattle. Kopech was tagged for nine runs in four innings in Chicago’s 14-1 loss at Colorado on Friday.
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