Both before and after Friday's 4-2 loss to Chicago put his team at an American League-worst 14-23, Seattle manager John McLaren continued to stress that his team is better than it is playing.
That wouldn't be hard, because the Mariners are playing some grim baseball these days. They have scored two or fewer runs in eight of their last nine games, and they have eight of those nine.
Seattle ended a streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings with a third-inning run Friday, but that came because of a wild pitch thrown by White Sox right-hander Jose Contreras.
"We're a good team playing terrible baseball," McLaren said. "Only we can fix it. The coaches and I have been exchanging ideas about what to do. You can only shuffle the lineup so much.
"We've got to start playing solid baseball. We need timely hitting, we need to pitch well and we need good defense."
WHITE SOX 4, MARINERS 2: The Seattle offense continued to flounder, although the Mariners snapped their scoreless streak at 24 innings Friday when Ichiro Suzuki scored on a wild pitch by Chicago's Jose Contreras in the third inning.
However the Mariners were already down 3-0 at the time, and Seattle hasn't come from more than two runs down all season to win a game. They didn't this time, either, although rookie Wladimir Balentien homered in the ninth inning.
Seattle has now scored two or fewer runs in eight of its last nine games, and the Mariners are 1-8 during that stretch.
--SS Yuniesky Betancourt was back in the No. 9 spot in the lineup after five days further up. His average was at .288 when, in an effort to inject more life into the Seattle offense, manager John McLaren moved him to seventh last Sunday. He batted seventh three times and sixth twice, but went just 3-for-19 to lower his average 20 points to .268 entering play Friday.
--DH Jose Vidro, who had missed the previous four games with back spasms, was back in Seattle's lineup Friday. Vidro had one hit.
--1B Richie Sexson was in the lineup Friday after having been ejected in the fourth inning Thursday after having charged the mound and Texas RHP Kason Gabbard. Sexson was fined and suspended for six games, but he appealed the suspension and will continue to play until a ruling comes down. Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez was fined but not suspended for his part in the melee.
--RHP Mark Lowe had never been in a classic benches-clearing shoving match before Thursday, when the Mariners got into it with the Rangers after 1B Richie Sexson charged the mound. Those in the bullpen couldn't be bothered to take the walkway onto the field to join in, if needed. "We all just jumped the fence instead of taking the ramp down," Lowe said. "We got out there and back and nobody (injured) a hamstring. That's the important thing."
--CF Ichiro Suzuki set up Seattle's fourth-inning run Friday with a stolen base. It was his 14th this season, one behind AL leader Carlos Gomez of the Twins. And it was the sixth time in nine games Ichiro has had at least one stolen base. He also has a nine-game hitting streak during which he's averaging .382 (13-for-84).
--RHP Sean Green threw a shutout inning Friday. That lowered his ERA to 1.45 in 19 games pitched. He leads the AL in relief appearances.
--RF Wladimir Balentien threw out his first base runner of the season when he gunned down Chicago C A.J. Pierzynski in the sixth inning. He also hit his third homer, a solo shot in the ninth inning.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of blown saves for RHP J.J. Putz. He only had two blown saves in all of 2007.
DH Jose Vidro (back spasms) was unable to bat May 6-8. He played on May 9.
LHP Jarrod Washburn (right calf strain) left his May 5 start. He is not expected to miss his next start.
RHP Miguel Batista (right groin strain) made his scheduled start on May 1. He had been injured in his April 25 start. After his May 6 start, he hinted at an injury problem, but he wasn't specific.
RF Mike Morse (dislocated left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list April 14. He had shoulder surgery April 22 and probably won't play again this season.
RHP Anderson Garcia (right shoulder tendinitis) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list.