Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 5, Mariners 0
June, 30, 2012
By John Hickey | ESPNBoston.com
SEATTLE -- Somewhere around the middle of this game, the Red Sox's hitters remembered who they are and what they can do.
The fact that Safeco Field isn't a good place to hit homers suddenly didn't seem to matter. Four homers in the course of eight batters put an efficient end to the Mariners on this night.
And Aaron Cook put his name forward for consideration as a member of Boston's second-half starting rotation with a dominant performance that hearkened back to his All-Star days with the Colorado Rockies five years ago.
Cook allowed just two singles and faced one batter more than the minimum in shackling Seattle in a 5-0 win Friday night, the 10th victory in the past 13 games for the Red Sox.
Held without a run for the first 13 innings of the series, Boston got on the board with an explosion off the bat of Will Middlebrooks, who slammed a pitch from Hector Noesi far over the left-field fence for his 10th homer.
Moments later Cody Ross made it back-to-back homers to left field, for Ross his 12th. And before the inning was over, Daniel Nava would go deep to right field for a 3-0 lead.
An inning later, the score had been jacked up to 5-0 thanks to the 15th homer off the bat of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and that left Cook in a pitcher's dream position, having a chance to throw with a big lead against a team that doesn't hit very well.
Cook, as was the case for Franklin Morales on Thursday, was simply outstanding in his start. He'd never faced the Mariners before, and he made them look foolish.
An infield grounder off the bat of the fleet Ichiro Suzuki to open the fourth inning gave Seattle its first baserunner. John Jaso singled to open the eighth. Both men were wiped out by double plays. The only other man on base was Dustin Ackley, safe on a Mike Aviles error on a night when Cook went on to turn in perhaps his best start ever.
Making a start for Boston for just the third time, Cook threw scoreless baseball for the first time since he blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers for seven innings as a member of the Rockies in Dodger Stadium last July 27.
His sinker in top form, Cook had Seattle pounding the ball into the ground all night. After the first inning, the Mariners didn't get an out in the air until the sixth inning.
As for the Red Sox's homers, it's best to consider that there had been only 44 homers combined in Safeco Field this season before Boston went deep four times Friday.