CHICAGO (AP) -Andruw Jones has played himself into a starting role on the White Sox.
Jones hit a game-ending home run in the ninth inning and also homered in the first, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 7-6 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
``A lot of guys have been struggling. We just had to make some moves and he's going with the hot bats,' Jones said of manager Ozzie Guillen. ``I just got an opportunity and I took advantage of it.' Paul Konerko homered and drove in two runs and Alex Rios hit a tying RBI double for the White Sox, who won for the second time in eight games.
Jones, who turned 33 on Friday, signed a one-year deal worth $500,000 plus incentives with the White Sox in the offseason after coming off three straight seasons of batting .222 or lower. Jones did not have an everyday position during spring training but has worked himself in lineup with six home runs and a .293 average.
After an impressive spring training Guillen told him if he continues to hit he will play.
``I had a conversation with him, if you swing the bat good I will play you,' said Guillen, who has juggled the lineup because of the team's .219 batting average.
Jones still believes he can be the player he was five years ago and prove his doubters wrong that he isn't washed up.
``It doesn't bother me because I know what kind of player I am,' Jones said. ``It's more about my family, they know how much I love this game, they know how much I take pride in this game for people to say this and that. Some people see other things that people don't see but those things happen. But I think I have five more good years before I retire.'
Former Mariners reliever Matt Thornton (2-1) was dominant. The White Sox left-hander had five strikeouts in 2 1-3 innings for the victory.
With two outs in the ninth, Jones came back from an 0-2 to count to homer off Mariners reliever Mark Lowe (1-2) into the left field bullpen.
``I should have put him away when I had him 0-2 but he laid off some really good sliders,' Lowe said. ``He fouled off some fastballs that were up and had a great at-bat. Then I hung him a slider that he hit to win the game for his team.'
Jose Lopez hit his first career grand slam in the seventh inning for the Mariners who lost for just the second time in nine games.
White Sox starter Gavin Floyd was unable to hold a 5-2 lead in the seventh inning, loading the bases before J.J. Putz relieved. After an out, Lopez homered.
Lopez took advantage of playing behind Putz when they were teammates.
``Yeah, I played second base behind him. I know what he throws and I know a couple counts when he throws his fastball. That's why I was looking for one pitch,' Lopez said.
The Mariners bullpen failed to hold the lead in the seventh when Rios greeted Brandon League with an RBI double to make it 6-all.
Milton Bradley was back in Chicago and although he was out of the lineup with a sore calf, Bradley met with the Chicago media before the game for the first time since his 2009 season ended when the Cubs suspended Bradley after a verbal altercation with their hitting coach, and after he criticized the atmosphere of the organization.
Bradley told a Chicago TV station that he felt misrepresented by the media.
``As a black man playing this game, I just don't feel like ... you know, the majority of the media is middle-aged white guys, so I don't think you can accurately construe what I have to say, or portray me as who I am, because you don't know,' Bradley told Chicago Comcast Sportsnet.
Bradley called himself a ``nerd' and said he plays scrabble with Mariners reliever Shawn Kelly in the bullpen.
If Bradley plays during the three-games series, he won't care what kind of reception he gets from the Chicago fans.
Mariners starter Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched 5 1-3 inning and allowed five runs - three earned - on six hits.
``The good thing of this ballgame was the offense and Jose Lopez,' Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. ``We battled back twice. Got two runs in the game early to tie it up and obviously the grand slam to put us in the position where we could win this ballgame.'
Floyd was unable to hold an early 2-0 lead. Chone Figgins broke an 0-for-17 slump, with an RBI double down the right-field line and Ken Griffey Jr. grounded into a run-scoring fielder's choice.
Konerko's RBI single in the fourth put the White Sox up 3-2.
Konerko added his sixth home run in the sixth inning and Carlos Quentin scored on Donny Lucy's fielder's choice.
Quentin broke out of 0 for 23 slump with a homer in the second inning.
In the first inning, Jones hit Rowland-Smith's first pitch off the foul pole for his fifth home run.
NOTES: With LHP Cliff Lee expected to be activated from the DL and make his season debut on April 30. Wakamatsu said one of the current starting pitchers would likely get bumped into the bullpen rather than get sent to Triple-A Tacoma. ... Bradley (calf) could return this weekend but his status is still uncertain. ... Jack Wilson underwent X-rays on his thumb after sustaining an injury in the third inning.
The Associated Press News Service
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