The theme of this series has been the Red Sox losing on account of big offensive innings by the Mariners; Seattle won the first game of the series 5-3 with a five-run ninth inning and then won game two 7-3 after a seven-run fourth. And after a three-run first inning by the Mariners today, it looked like more of the same.
However, the difference between today and the previous two games of the series is that the Red Sox retaliated this afternoon. The Mariners scored three runs in the first inning against Red Sox starting pitcher Allen Webster with run-scoring singles by Kendrys Morales, Kyle Seager, and Logan Morrison. However, the Red Sox answered in the bottom of the first against Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners.
Brock Holt led off the first inning with a slap single down the third base line and advanced to second on a groundout by Dustin Pedroia. With two outs in the inning, cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes came through with a sharp single past third baseman Kyle Seager to score Boston’s first run of the game. From then on, the typically economical Iwakuma (who had already labored through 20 pitches to the first four hitters) would go on to have himself a very uncharacteristic inning. Although he didn’t walk a batter, he hit consecutive hitters on the arm with both Mike Napoli and Allen Craig receiving free trips to first base, loading the bases with two outs. Then, Will Middlebrooks delivered on a 1-0 count, rapping a single past second baseman Robinson Cano to score two runs and tie the game at 3-3.
Both pitchers had quick rebound innings in the second with Webster and Iwakuma each setting down the opposition 1-2-3 on nine and eight pitches respectively. However, while Webster had himself another easy third inning, retiring the heart of the Mariners’ order on just seven pitches, Iwakuma collapsed once more. A David Ortiz walk and Yoenis Cespedes double placed two runners in scoring position to lead off the inning. Ortiz would then score on a groundout by Mike Napoli and Cespedes touched home plate on an RBI double to left by Will Middlebrooks, who recorded his third RBI of the day.
In the fourth inning, however, Webster’s luck would run dry against the bottom of the Mariners’ lineup. He allowed a run on a sacrifice fly by Chris Denorfia, scoring Seager from third, but the real damage occurred in the fifth inning. A leadoff single by Austin Jackson was followed by a triple off the bat of Dustin Ackley, tying the game at 5-5 and placing a runner at third with no outs. Ackley would score on a sacrifice fly by Brad Miller, who replaced Cano after he left the game due to dizziness in the third inning. After Webster walked Kendrys Morales, John Farrell pulled the young righty in favor of Craig Breslow, who promptly recorded two outs on two pitches to end the inning.
With both starting pitchers out of the game, neither team scored again until the eighth inning, when the Mariners grabbed an insurance run in the top of the inning. The Red Sox would follow that with a run of their own when Kelly Johnson doubled into left-center, scoring Holt from second base to cut the Mariners’ lead to 7-6.
The Mariners would score once again in the top of the ninth but this game didn’t appear over until the very end. The Red Sox mounted themselves a potential rally against Seattle closer Fernando Rodney as a Mookie Betts single and walks to Holt and Dustin Pedroia would load the bases with two outs in the inning. On a 2-2 count, however, Kelly Johnson chased a fastball outside and went down swinging to end the game. The 8-6 loss would extend Boston’s losing skid to eight games now and they’ll attempt to turn that around in their next series in Toronto.