Nelson Cruz’s 18th home run put Felix Hernandez in line for the win and the bullpen made the slim lead stand in a 4-3 victory.
CHICAGO — Much has been written about the value of wins for pitchers, specifically how it’s an inferior way to measure performance.
Saturday night provided another example for that argument.
Felix Hernandez was credited with the victory — his fifth of the season — in the Mariners’ 4-3 win over the White Sox.
But really the game was won by Seattle’s bullpen of right-handers Steve Cishek, Tony Zych, Nick Vincent and Edwin Diaz. The quartet of relievers worked four scoreless innings, preserving the one-run lead and helping the team overcome three errors to improve to 45-47.
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“Our bullpen was outstanding tonight,” M’s manager Scott Servais. “It was a little on the edge at the end.”
There has to be drama. Cishek and Diaz put the tying and go-ahead runs on in their respective innings. But they didn’t yield. In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and runners on first and second, Diaz struck out Jose Abreu to end the game and notch his 15th save.
Diaz credited pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre’s visit to the mound to get him focused after he allowed a two-out single to Melky Cabrera and walked Avisail Garcia.
“I got a little too excited against Garcia,” Diaz admitted. “But he helped calm me down, and I made my pitches to Abreu.”
It gave the Mariners a rare series win at the stadium now named Guaranteed Rate Field.
How rare? The Mariners hadn’t won a series in the building since Aug. 10-12, 2007. They had gone 0-10-1 since. Seattle came into the game with an 8-28 record in the previous 36 games since that series win.
Seattle’s bullpen has been trending toward the positive. Since an 8-1 loss to the White Sox on May 21 at Safeco Field where they used six pitchers, the Mariners’ bullpen has posted a 2.67…