CHICAGO – Alexei Ramirez loves these warm summer nights, when it feels like a sauna outside. It takes him back to his native Cuba.
It’s no coincidence that the White Sox infielder is beginning to heat up at the plate.
Ramirez, Andruw Jones and Paul Konerko homered, powering Gavin Floyd and the Sox to an 11-0 victory against the woeful Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
“The team is inspired,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “Everyone just wants to win every day.”
Ramirez finished with three hits and three RBIs and Jones also drove in three for the Sox, who led, 8-0, after three innings. A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-out, two-run single in the Sox’s four-run first against Ryan Rowland-Smith.
Ramirez, who also singled in a run in the first, is 8 for 12 with five RBIs in his past three games, including six hits in consecutive games against Seattle.
In addition to consistent video work and knowing the opposing pitcher, “The weather is a big factor,” Ramirez said. “Just feel really comfortable hitting in really warm weather.”
The Mariners dropped to 1-7 against the Sox this season and have lost 18 of their past 24 games overall. They were shut out for the seventh time and are last in the majors in several offensive categories.
It was Seattle’s worst loss of the season.
“There’s no way that we should be this bad,” catcher Josh Bard said.
Floyd (6-8) allowed four hits in seven innings, improving to 4-2 with a sparkling 1.04 ERA in his last 10 starts. The 6-foot-6 right-hander hasn’t surrendered more than two earned runs in a game since he lasted just 2 2/3 innings in a 9-5 loss to Texas on June 2.
“I feel like I’m going out there and having conviction every pitch, not concerned about the results,” Floyd said. “I just try to go out there and make a pitch and whatever happens, happens.”
With the trade deadline coming up Saturday, the Sox made another strong argument to stay the course, albeit against the struggling Mariners. The AL Central leaders have won nine consecutive home games, their longest such streak since 2008, and 16 of 17 overall at U.S. Cellular Field.
Rowland-Smith (1-10) allowed all 11 runs, tying a franchise record by a starting pitcher, and 11 hits in five innings. He has yielded at least five earned runs in each of his past three games.
“Just leaving the ball up quite a bit and it cost me,” he said.
Manager Don Wakamatsu said the team will have a discussion about Rowland-Smith’s spot in the rotation before making a decision about his role.
“It’s frustrating for all of us,” Wakamatsu said. “I know it’s extremely frustrating for him because he goes out there and tries to compete.”
Ramirez hit a two-run drive and Konerko connected for his second in two games in the Sox’s three-run second. Jones hit a three-run shot in the fifth for his 14th homer and career No. 402.
Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo had two doubles apiece for the Sox, who finished with 12 hits.
“We’ve got some guys swinging the bat well,” Konerko said, “and this park, when it gets hot, it’s good to hit in.”
The Mariners welcomed back designated hitter Russell Branyan, who was sidelined with back spasms, but played without center fielder Franklin Gutierrez and lost third baseman Jose Lopez to a tight left hamstring in the second inning.
Wakamatsu said Gutierrez was away from the ballpark to deal with a family issue and should be able to rejoin the team today. Lopez is day to day.
Michael Saunders, who normally plays left field, moved over to center and misplayed Viciedo’s RBI double in the first, capping the Sox’s fast start.
The White Sox announced that former slugger Frank Thomas has agreed to become a team ambassador. The Big Hurt will make appearances for the organization and join its speakers bureau, which includes Carlton Fisk, Minnie Minoso, Ron Kittle, Bill Melton and Bill Skowron.