CHICAGO -- Robinson Cano didn't leave his heroics in Miami, following up his All-Star Game Most Valuable Player performance with a three-run homer to help power the Mariners to a 4-2 win over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday.
"I knew I hit it good," Cano said of his homer, which barely cleared the right-center-field fence. "Maybe I left my power at the All-Star Game. Nah, just kidding."
White Sox right-hander James Shields went six innings for the third time in eight starts this season, but couldn't get out of his trouble in the third. After giving up a walk and a single to lead off the inning, Shields left an 85.6-mph cutter over the heart of the plate and Cano homered to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. The Mariners added another run when Shields' fifth-inning wild pitch allowed Jean Segura to score, leaving the veteran right-hander on the hook for four runs.
"Obviously I didn't want to throw the ball down the middle to Cano," Shields said. "I wanted to get it inside, off the plate a bit. If I make my pitches right there, I think it's a whole different ballgame."
That was enough for Mariners left-hander James Paxton, who built upon his strong first half of the season and added to his career high with his eighth win. He worked six innings for the fourth straight start, striking out nine while walking none. He allowed two runs, and hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since June 16.
Tony Zych, Nick Vincent and Edwin Diaz combined for three perfect innings out of the bullpen, with Diaz picking up his 14th save in 17 tries as the Mariners opened their second half with a win. Friday's loss pushed the White Sox to 3-6 since the calendar flipped to July. The White Sox are now a season-low 12 games below .500, and they're the second team in the American League to reach 50 losses.
"Really nice ballgame," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "Really dominant pitching tonight. ... It was a good complete game, and we've got to continue to roll with this and keep building."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED That's wild: With the White Sox trailing 3-2 in the fifth, they needed a clean inning from Shields. He gave up a leadoff double to Segura, who moved over to third on a groundout. But with two outs, Shields' two-strike curveball scooted past catcher Kevan Smith and allowed Segura to score. It was just his second wild pitch of the season.
"You can control those things," Shields said. "The wild pitch, we can control that. I'm not happy with the outing, but we're going to keep grinding it out and move forward."
Welcome back: White Sox infielder Tyler Saladino was activated from the disabled list Friday after missing more than a month due to nagging back spasms. It didn't take him long to make a notable return, as he took Paxton the other way for a slicing ground-rule double to score Avisail Garcia and put the White Sox up 1-0 in the second. Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger had a tough time finding the ball, which had a hit probability of five percent, according to Statcast™. It was Chicago's only lead in the game.
"Sally did a nice job in that at-bat," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria . "With two strikes, he worked it 3-2, fouled off a few pitches then the ground-rule double. It was nice to see that."
"It's always tough to lose a teammate, especially Q. He's a professional baseball player, and he goes about his business every day, works hard every day. Great guy, great teammate. It's tough to lose guys, but we know as players it's part of the game. His name has been floated around quite a bit." -- Shields, following Thursday's trade of Jose Quintana.
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Haniger made a critical play in the ninth inning, ranging into the gap in right-center field to rob White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu of an extra-base hit to lead off the inning. It was a four-star catch with a 32 percent catch probability, according to Statcast™, with Haniger traveling 66 feet in 4.2 seconds.
"[The bullpen] did a great job today. Defense was great," Paxton said. "[Haniger] made a great play in the ninth there, catching that ball. Everyone looked good coming out of the break."
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Felix Hernandez (4-3, 4.44 ERA) will get the ball for Game 2 of the three-game set at 4:10 p.m. PT at Guaranteed Rate Field. The right-hander looked sharp in his last outing, throwing six shutout innings and striking out a season-high eight batters in a 4-0 win over the A's.
White Sox:Mike Pelfrey (3-7, 4.83 ERA) will start for a reshuffled White Sox rotation in the second game of this weekend's three-game set at 6:10 p.m. CT. He last appeared out of the bullpen in Chicago's 10-0 loss to the Rockies on Sunday, his second relief outing of the season.