Garcia’s 2 HRs, 6 RBIs lead Chicago’s 16-1 rout of Seattle

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SEATTLE, WA – MAY 20: Avisail Garcia #26 of the Chicago White Sox is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run off of starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Seattle Mariners that scored Melky Cabrera #53 of the Chicago White Sox and Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a game at Safeco Field on May 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — After a rash of close games decided late, the Chicago White Sox enjoyed a rare night to relax.

It was largely thanks to Avisail Garcia.

Garcia homered in his first two at-bats and had a career-high six RBIs, and the White Sox battered Seattle’s depleted pitching staff in a 16-1 win over the Mariners on Saturday night.

The White Sox knocked around Seattle starter Yovani Gallardo (2-4) and no one provided more shots than Garcia. He hit a three-run homer in the first inning, added a solo shot in the third and greeted reliever Dillon Overton with a two-run double in the fourth. Garcia was on a tear entering the game, hitting .361 in his previous nine games and finished with 4 for 5, adding another double in the seventh. The four hits tied a career high.

“I was just focused and trying to do my best, trying not to do too much and help my team win,” Garcia said. “That’s what everybody is doing right now.”

The White Sox won their second straight after dropping the first four of their road trip. Five of their previous seven games had been decided by two runs or less, but the 16-run outburst was the most by the White Sox since since April 20, 2014, at Texas when they also scored 16.

Garcia wasn’t alone in pounding Seattle’s pitching staff. Matt Davidson hit a two-run homer, Willy Garcia hit the first home run of his career into the second deck in left field. Every batter in Chicago’s lineup had at least one hit. Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier both added two-run singles as the White Sox did their damage in bunches, scoring four in the first inning, five in the fourth and five in the seventh.

“In general (Garcia) opened up the game a little bit in the first inning with that homer and I think everybody kind of tacked on and kept playing,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said.

Lost in the offensive firepower by Chicago was the best performance of the season by starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey, who allowed just one run and four hits in six innings. Pelfrey had pitched into the fifth inning just once since joining the White Sox rotation in late-April, but Seattle’s suddenly silent offense managed little.

Pelfrey (1-4) was helped by a pair of double plays early, and Seattle’s only run came after Carlos Ruiz doubled and scored on Jean Segura’s groundout in the fifth inning. Ruiz was the first batter to reach second base against Pelfrey.

“Overall pretty pleased with the way it went. It’s always nice to take the mound and have a four-run lead at the beginning,” Pelfrey said.

Gallardo is the one remaining member from Seattle’s projected opening day starting rotation that’s not on the disabled list. But Saturday was one of the worst performances of his career. The nine earned runs were the most allowed by Gallardo since the 2009 season when he was pitching with Milwaukee. In five starts at home this season, Gallardo has allowed 21 earned runs in 27 innings pitched.

Gallardo’s ERA for the season climbed from 4.53 to 5.84.

“I wasn’t able to find that good rhythm that I’ve had in my past few starts,” Gallardo said. “It’s definitely frustrating coming from the starts I’ve had before that.”

Garcia was the third White Sox player to have four extra-base hits and six RBIs in a game, joining Robin Ventura and Pat Seerey.

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