CHICAGO — Seattle manager Scott Servais liked what he saw from starting pitcher Taijuan Walker. He’s still waiting for his offense to break out.
Walker allowed four runs in 7 1/3 innings as the Mariners lost 4-1 to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Seattle totaled seven runs in the final three games of the series.
Servais said before the game he’d like to see the offense get going and consistently score five or more runs.
“You’ve got to get hits with runners in scoring position,” Servais said. “Our pitching was really good today. I can’t say enough about Taijuan.”
Walker (4-9) has allowed eight runs in 13 innings over his last two starts since returning from a demotion to Triple-A Tacoma. He is 2-7 since he went 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in April.
“He threw the ball outstanding, really good effort, good stuff,” Servais said. “He was really on top of his game, about as good as we’ve seen him since early in the year.”
Carlos Rodon pitched into the seventh inning, Justin Morneau had a two-run single and Melky Cabrera drove in a run and scored twice to lead the White Sox, who took three of four against the Mariners.
Jose Abreu also drove in a run for Chicago, which has won six of eight.
Robinson Cano hit a solo homer, his 30th, and Kyle Seager had three hits for the Mariners, who are three games back in the wild-card race.
“You want to be there as a hitter, but the situation we’re in right now, it doesn’t matter how good I do or how good I played in the game, if we wouldn’t win,” Cano said.
Rodon (5-8) allowed the run and five hits in six-plus innings before giving way to the bullpen. Rodon is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last five starts.
“Carlos has really evolved,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “As he goes along, he just seems to be getting better. There’s more confidence there and he’s learned a lot about himself as well.”
David Robertson got the last three outs for his 33rd save in 39 chances.
Chicago center fielder Adam Eaton left the game due to a bruised forearm in the fifth — an inning after being hit by a pitch. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day.
Walker was perfect through three innings, but then started the fourth by hitting Eaton. One out later, Cabrera doubled to put runners on second and third. Abreu was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Morneau followed with a single to left for a 2-0 lead.
“I really didn’t feel like (I had) my best fastball today,” Walker said.
He hit three batters.
“When you throw in, it’s going to happen,” Walker said. “You kind of have to make them uncomfortable too at the same time. Obviously (I’m) not trying to hit a batter, but trying to get it in there to get them off the plate, get them off the fastball.”
Chicago added a two runs in the eighth on an RBI triple by Cabrera and a sacrifice fly by Abreu.
Cano has reached 30 home runs for the second time in his career. He hit 33 in 2009.
“He’s had a phenomenal year, really from the get-go, from the opening series of the season all the way through,” Servais said.
Mariners: 3B Seager (bruised right foot) was in the lineup for a second straight day after missing the previous three games. “He looked fine,” Servais said. “Is he 100 percent? Probably not.”
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (14-9, 3.81 ERA), who’s gone at least seven innings in 12 of his 26 starts, faces RHP Yu Darvish (4-3, 2.91) Monday in the opener of a three-games series at Texas.
White Sox: RHP James Shields (5-16, 5.98 ERA) looks to rebound Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Detroit after going 0-4 with a 13.95 ERA in his last five starts. LHP Matt Boyd (5-2, 3.98) goes for the Tigers.