Down 3-0 through two innings against Seattle’s James Paxton, the Red Sox’ four-game winning streak seemed over. But a six-run top of the third provided the Boston offense with what should have been enough for Rick Porcello to secure a win.
For Porcello, it was, as he departed with nine strikeouts and just four runs surrendered through six innings. It was then that the Red Sox held a two-run edge. But after a one-run bottom of the seventh inning from Heath Hembree, and two runs surrendered by Matt Barnes in the home half of the eighth inning, it was the Red Sox that fell by a 7-6 final at Safeco Field.
Mike Zunino started the barrage against the Boston bullpen when he took Hembree deep on the first Seattle at-bat against a pitcher not named Porcello. The home run, good for Zunino’s 11th of the season, was just the beginning. To turn their one-run deficit into a one-run lead against Barnes, the M’s got a clutch pinch-hit, two-run double from Denard Span.
The hit continued the 34-year-old Span’s rather peculiar and largely unfounded demolition of the Red Sox in 2018, which now features 11 hits in 37 at-bats, good for a .297 average, along with two home runs and 10 RBIs. (Span, mind you, began his season with the Tampa Bay Rays, but was traded to Seattle just two months into the season.)
But the Red Sox were not done, as J.D. Martinez put the Sox in a good situation against the Mariners’ Edwin Diaz to begin the ninth with a leadoff single. But Mitch Moreland went down swinging, and after Xander Bogaerts worked an eight-pitch war against Diaz into a walk, Rafael Devers spoiled the fun when he swung on a first pitch and popped out to Jean Segura.
That left the fate of the game on the bat of Boston’s Eduardo Nunez. In an 0-2 hole with back-to-back fouls, Nunez eventually put the ball in fair territory, but with a weak dribbler up the first base line that ended the game, and Boston’s win streak.
At the plate, Bogaerts stayed hot, with a three-run home run. Mookie Betts and Martinez each pitched in with 2-for-4 nights. But as the team, the Sox went just 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 guys on base in all by the night’s end.
The Red Sox will play the third game of this four-game series Saturday at 8:15 p.m. Boston time.
Veteran knuckleballer Steven Wright gets the call on the mound. Wright has been fantastic of late, with zero runs allowed over his last seven outings (22.2 innings). Seattle counters Wright with lefty Wade LeBlanc.