SEATTLE -- Two teams headed in opposite directions met Thursday night in the series opener at Safeco Field, and the result reflected the clubs' current paths.
The Seattle Mariners exploded for four home runs and a season-high-tying 13 runs, when the struggling Chicago White Sox saw their season hit another low point in a 13-3 loss.
Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano, third baseman Kyle Seager and left fielder Dustin Ackley and right fieldet Endy Chavez went deep for the Mariners, who kept pace in the American League wild-card race. Seattle (60-54) is a half-game behind the Kansas City Royals in the chase for the second wild-card spot.
"We had a good night," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We're getting there."
McClendon was ejected in the eighth inning after coming out of the dugout to discuss with home plate umpire Toby Basner a pitch that hit Mariners designated hitter Kendrys Morales. The hit-by-pitch came after White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu got hit twice -- in the sixth and eighth innings.
"I just asked a simple question (to Basner)," said McClendon. "If he thought (Chicago reliever Maikel Cleto) threw at (Morales), he should have thrown him out of the game. ... I thought it was intentional."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura didn't get involved in the drama, saying: "If (Cleto) can spot that (pitch) good, we wouldn't have been in the trouble we were in."
Seattle starter Roenis Elias didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, and he had a shutout going up to his final pitch -- a two-run homer by left fielder Dayan Viciedo with two outs in the sixth that cut the Mariners' lead to 5-2.
Elias (9-9) allowed two runs on two hits in 5 2/3 innings. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his past four starts. However, Elias was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after the game, clearing a roster spot for a Sunday starter.
White Sox starter Scott Carroll (4-7) gave up three of Seattle's home runs on a night when he matched his season high for earned runs allowed -- seven.
"Scotty left a couple up, and they took care of them," Ventura said. "Those homers kind of spiraled into a little more."
Ackley went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and his second home run in as many games.
Chavez added three RBIs, the final one of which came on a run-scoring single in the seventh inning. The hard-hit liner struck White Sox reliever Andre Rienzo in the abdomen, leaving the right-hander on his knees for a few seconds before he was able to stand back up. After talking to a team trainer, Rienzo took a few warmup pitches and stayed in the game.
Rienzo, who was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte after the game, sported a red spot just below his chest but was more concerned about his performance after allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits in just one-third of an inning.
"I'm feeling really bad because I've struggled the last three games," he said. "I got sent down to work on some things, and I'll come back better."
Asked whether the liner had an effect on his performance, Rienzo said: "No excuse. My bad."
Chicago (55-61) gave up double-digit runs for the third time in five games while taking its third consecutive loss.
The Mariners jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Viciedo put Chicago on the board in the sixth. Seattle responded by adding three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, with Ackley delivering the big blow, a two-run single for an 8-2 lead.
The Mariners added three more in the seventh and two in the ninth.
Abreu went 0-for-2, ending his 25-game road hitting streak.
NOTES: White Sox CF Adam Eaton (bruised back) did not play Thursday after injuring his back running into the wall a day earlier. ... The Mariners have yet to name a Sunday starter, but manager Lloyd McClendon said he doesn't plan on using a reliever in that spot. Triple-A RHPs Erasmo Ramirez and Taijuan Walker are the likeliest candidates, and Ramirez was removed after only two innings of a Thursday start at Triple-A Tacoma. ... Coaches from both teams were unavailable because of health problems. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper (vertigo) did not make the trip to Seattle, and Mariners first base coach Andy Van Slyke injured a knee throwing batting practice. ... Seattle UT Willie Bloomquist is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday morning. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 24 with a knee contusion. The surgery should provide more information about what is ailing Bloomquist and whether he will be back this season.