While trying to snap a five-game losing streak in the first of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners Friday night, things were going surprisingly well for the Red Sox.
Until the ninth inning, that is.
That’s when closer Koji Uehara entered the game and ruined everything. After giving up singles to Logan Morrison and Chris Denorfia, and walking Endy Chavez, Uehara found himself in a bases-loaded with two outs situation. Fans at Fenway Park stood as one while awaiting the final out, but they could only look on in despair at the complete mess that ensued.
Boston entered the ninth with a 3-0 lead and came up to bat in the bottom of the inning trailing 5-3. That’s right: Uehara gave up a staggering five runs in an abysmal two-thirds of an inning.
Up until this point, the Red Sox, all in all, offered an impressive offensive performance against Felix Hernandez, who entered the game with a 1.99 ERA, the best in the American League. Hernandez gave up all three runs on a towering home run off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes in the sixth. David Ortiz reached base in all four of his at bats, which included a single right through the dreaded shift and a stand-up double.
Even with a 5.29 ERA, Red Sox starter Joe Kelly offered a solid performance up against Hernandez. He retired every Mariner he faced through his first three and one-third innings before ultimately giving up a hit to Chavez. He struggled in the fifth inning, where he found himself in a bases-loaded jam after hitting Kyle Seager with a pitch and surrendering back-to-back walks to Chavez and Brad Miller. He ultimately got Austin Jackson to pop up to second to escape the inning and then left the game for “precautionary reasons” after feeling a strange sensation in his shoulder.
Xander Bogaerts also left the game before the sixth inning to be evaluated for a concussion after taking a Hernandez curveball to the head in the fifth. He stayed in the game until the end of the inning before Brock Holt replaced him in the lineup. Of course, Bogaerts didn’t leave without making one of his signature errors, this one his 18th of the season, in the top half of the inning after he caught a line out by Logan Morrison and made an errant throw just out of the reach of Daniel Nava at first base.
Until the ill-fated final inning, the Red Sox bullpen looked sharp and kept the lead secure. Craig Breslow entered the game in relief of Kelly in the sixth and he did his job, although he balked and gave up two walks and a hit before handing the ball off to Burke Badenhop with two outs in the seventh. Badenhop struck out the final batter of the inning before Tommy Layne entered the game and pitched a solid eighth. A win was all but imminent.
Then it was Koji Time and that did not go well at all.
With the bases jacked, Uehara gave up a double to Austin Jackson, which allowed Morrison and Chavez to score. Then Dustin Ackley singled, Jackson scored, Robinson Cano singled, Ackley scored, and this ship was sunk.
Uehara was yanked and replaced with Edward Mujica, who stopped the bleeding by striking out Kendrys Morales. As the score indicates, the bottom on the inning was uneventful and the Red Sox extended this losing streak to six games.
And on Carl Yastrzemski’s 75th birthday, of all days.