SEATTLE — John Danks didn't know what to do when a crucial at-bat against Raul Ibanez went on and on. The rest of the Chicago White Sox don't know how to stop a losing streak that just won't end.
Ibanez hit a two-run homer after a 13-pitch at-bat in the third inning to lead the Seattle Mariners to a 4-2 win over the White Sox on Monday night. Chicago has lost seven straight games, its longest slide since dropping seven in a row in September 2011.
Danks got Ibanez to swing and miss at the first two pitches, but then anything close to the plate Ibanez fouled off until the home run.
"I just ran out of ideas," Danks said. "We threw hard away, soft away, hard in, soft in. I thought I had him looking in, and threw a cutter away and it was up a little more than I like. He's a good hitter and did what he was supposed to do."
No one else on the White Sox has found any better answer during their slide.
"Sometimes there's no answers," said Paul Konerko, who was 1 for 4 with a double. "All you can do is try and work and that's it. There is no easy answer – you just keep cracking away."
Chicago might have thought the answer would be found in Seattle, where the White Sox had won their previous eight games. But even the formerly friendly venue and a starting pitcher with a history of success against the Mariners couldn't stop the losing streak.
Danks (0-2) allowed four runs – three earned – and seven hits in six innings, striking out five and walking one in his third start of the year.
"This is the best he's looked as far as command, just coming out of his hand," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "He had a couple that got him, but other than that, I like the way he was throwing."
The loss snapped Danks' seven-game winning streak against the Mariners – in his last eight starts against Seattle he was 7-0 with a 1.31 ERA.
"Every game there's a few pitches you'd like back," Danks said. "Seems like mine have bit me in the rear more than I'd like."
Seattle starter Joe Saunders (4-5) returned to his winning ways at Safeco Field, allowing one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts. Saunders is 10-1 at the Mariners' ballpark. The lone loss came in his previous home start against Texas on May 24, when he gave up eight runs in five innings.
Tom Wilhelmsen, who had blown three of his last four save opportunities, walked Alex Rios leading off the ninth and gave up a two-out RBI single to Adam Dunn in the ninth but earned his 13th save.
Chicago opened the scoring in the second. Dayan Viciedo hit a bloop double to center and scored on Jeff Keppinger's single.
Seattle answered in the bottom half when Jesus Sucre's RBI single tied it at 1.
The Mariners took the lead for good in the third inning. With one out, Kyle Seager beat out a bunt single. Kendrys Morales drove him home with a double off the center-field wall and Ibanez capped the inning with his home run.
"You never want to go on an extended losing streak," Danks said. "It's not for lack of hard work or guys caring, it's just not working out. I wish I could have been the stopper tonight."
Chicago's bigger worry, however, is offense. The White Sox haven't scored more than three runs during the losing streak and have been shut out three times. They also haven't homered in this stretch.
"We've just got to be able to score some runs," Ventura said.
NOTES: White Sox bench coach Mark Parent was ejected by plate umpire Dale Scott in the seventh. ... The White Sox activated infielder Gordon Beckham from the 15-day disabled list and designated infielder Tyler Greene for assignment. ... Chicago will face Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (6-4) on Tuesday.