- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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HOW IT HAPPENED: It’s why they play the games as the White Sox used injury-replacement starter Dylan Axelrod to get the best of the Mariners and ace Felix Hernandez. Axelrod, who is in the fifth spot only because John Danks is on the disabled list, went a solid 5⅔ innings, giving up an unearned run on three hits. The White Sox got to Hernandez with two run-scoring sacrifice flies and a two-run home run from Alex Rios. Addison Reed closed it out for his third save.
WHAT IT MEANS: While five games is far too soon to pull the plug on the struggling Jeff Keppinger as the third baseman, Conor Gillaspie showed he deserves some playing time. In his first start in a White Sox uniform he not only got the White Sox out of a jam in the top of the fifth when he went toward the line to start an impressive double play, he tripled to lead off the bottom of the inning and scored the tying run. He would also bring another left-handed bat to a lineup that only has two (Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn). As Gillaspie played third base, Keppinger moved to first base for the day.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: It hasn’t been the kind of start the White Sox were expecting out of Nate Jones. The right-handed reliever was charged with a run the day after he lost his first game of his career while giving up two runs. He has made three appearances this season and has put on a base runner each time. While it’s far too soon to panic, he already has an 11.57 ERA during the first week.
OFFBEAT: All it took was a little research to see that the White Sox actually stood a fair chance of defeating the Mariners and Hernandez. The right-hander is considered one of baseball’s best but not because of his appearances at U.S. Cellular Field. Hernandez is now 1-5 in eight career starts at the White Sox’s home park with a 4.88 ERA and has allowed 11 home runs.
UP NEXT: The White Sox will turn the rotation over for the first time as left-hander Chris Sale (1-0, 0.00) returns to the mound in the finale of the three-game series and season-opening homestand. The Mariners will counter with right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0, 1.50) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.
CHICAGO – Up against a former Cy Young Award winner, the Chicago White Sox had just enough for a 4-3 victory Saturday over the Seattle Mariners.