Red Sox Recap: Ben Affleck birthday curse comes to an end in romp over Seattle Mariners


The streak is over! Actor Ben Affleck is a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox, but his favorite team has failed to come away with a win on his birthday over the past 15 years. Boston was 0-15 on this date since Good Will Hunting was released in 1997. Affleck will star as the silver screen’s newest Batman next year, but it doesn’t take the World’s Greatest Detective to see that the Red Sox are struggling this season. Despite a disappointing year, at least the team was finally able to give Affleck something extra to celebrate on his birthday.

The Red Sox jumped all over Felix Hernandez in the second inning to get out to an early lead. Pablo Sandoval got things going by depositing a solo shot onto the tarp covering the center field bleachers to lead off the inning. A few batters later, Jackie Bradley, Jr. copied him by hitting one to nearly the same spot for a two-run homer. Both home runs came on changeups left up in the zone, as Hernandez had difficulty keeping the ball down and Red Sox hitters made him pay.

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An opposite field single by Xander Bogaerts punched in another run and David Ortiz added one more with a sac fly to pile up 5 runs on 9 hits against Hernandez through the first two innings.

Wade Miley couldn’t follow with a shutdown inning, as the Mariners started to chip away at the lead. 21-year old rookie shorstop Ketel Marte doubled down the left field line to drive in Mark Trumbo to put Seattle on the board. Nelson Cruz added another with an infield single that Bogaerts chased into the hole. With no play at first, Bogaerts spun to make an attempt at the runner at third, but Ketel slid in ahead of the throw, while Mike Zunino crossed home plate to make it 5-2.

It didn’t take long for the Red Sox to get those runs back and then some, as they piled on another five spot in the bottom of the third to chase Hernandez from the game.

Sandoval was hit on the elbow by a fastball from Hernandez to start the inning. While he would initially stay in the game, Sandoval would be replaced by Josh Rutledge the following inning. Alejandro De Aza would make Hernandez pay, lining a two-run homer down by the Pesky Pole. The three home runs were the most allowed in a game this season by Hernandez and only the 8th time in his career he has done that.

Hernandez didn’t get much help from his defense, as Franklin Gutierrez allowed a fly ball to drop in for a double from Bradley. It seemed as if Gutierrez thought the ball was going to hit the wall in left field, but it instead landed on the grass a few feet away from him. A couple batters later, Brock Holt lined a double into the right field corner to drive in two more and end the day for Hernandez. A sac fly from Ortiz was also charged to the Mariners’ ace, completing his day with a career-high 10 earned runs allowed on 12 hits, which tied his season-high.

The Red Sox refused to take their foot off the gas in the sixth inning, adding four more runs. Swihart drove in another run with his third hit of the game and Bradley followed with a double to score another. A ground out from Betts allowed Swihart to score and Ortiz singled up the middle to give Boston their 15th run of the day, giving the Red Sox their first set of back-to-back games with 15+ runs since 1998.

How out of hand did this game get? Backup catcher Jesus Sucre game in to pitch the 8th inning for the Mariners. As you can imagine, it didn’t go well. He gave up 3 runs, including Bradley’s second home run of the game to give the Red Sox a season-high 22 runs scored.

Games Notes:

  • The Red Sox placed right-handed pitcher Steven Wright on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion prior to today’s game. Garin Cecchini has been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his roster spot for now, but the team intends to call up Matt Barnes to start Monday’s game.
  • With a pair of home runs Friday night, Travis Shaw joined George Scott (1966) as the only Red Sox players in the last 100 years to have two multi-HR games within their first 18 major league games.
  • Hernandez entered the game 8th in the league with a 3.11 ERA, which rose all the way to 3.65 after getting knocked around by the Red Sox. He has now surrendered 14 earned runs in 8.1 innings against Boston this season, taking the loss in both starts against them.
  • The Red Sox have now scored double-digit runs in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Through the first two games of this series the Red Sox have piled up 37 runs, setting a season-high for runs scored in a series, with one more game on Sunday to close out the three-game set with Seattle.


Wade Miley. STARTING PITCHING . B+. . Game Ball

Miley got more than enough run support this afternoon, but he was pretty good in his own right. The lefty gave up only a pair of earned runs in 7 innings of work, allowing 4 hits, 3 walks and striking out 8. It’s only the 6th time this season that Miley has lasted at least 7 innings. He was expected to be an innings eater at the back end of the rotation, but he hasn’t performed well enough to last deep into games consistently. With his offense doing the heavy lifting in this game, Miley was able to pitch with minimal pressure, which may explain why he was able to come up with one of his better outings of the year.

F. . Game Ball. Robbie Ross. BULLPEN

Tommy Layne gave up the league-leading 35th home run of the season to Cruz to give the Mariners two more runs in the 8th, yet still wasn’t even the worst of the batch of relievers to come out of the horror show that the Red Sox call a bullpen. He gave way to Ryan Cook, who immediately gave up another two-run homer to Austin Jackson. Cook also served up a shot over the Green Monster to Zunino in the 9th and was pulled with the bases loaded and one out. Robbie Ross allowed all three inherited runners to score, but didn’t have any runs charged to him. I guess that means he gets the game ball by default.

Game Ball. Jackie Bradley. OFFENSE . A+.

There are a lot of options to choose from on a day when the Red Sox scored a season-high 22 runs, but I’m giving the game ball to Bradley. The much maligned outfielder tallied five hits, all for extra-bases. He hit 3 doubles and 2 home runs to raise his season average to a respectable .250. Every member of the Red Sox lineup except for Shaw recorded at least one hit, but Bradley’s 5 hits and 7 RBI led the way for Boston’s offensive explosion.

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