BOSTON -- Make it eight straight in the loss column.
The Seattle Mariners completed their three-game sweep of the Red Sox on Sunday, roughing up Allen Webster for six runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings and winning 8-6. The loss dropped the Red Sox to 2-9 on their 11-game homestand, marking the first time Boston has lost nine games on a homestand since 1994 (according to Elias).
The brunt of the damage against Webster came in the first inning as he allowed five hits and three runs in a span of six batters. Aided by two Mariners mistakes on the bases resulting in outs, Webster received a visit to the mound from pitching coach Juan Nieves before escaping the inning with a strikeout.
He went on to retire the next six batters he faced before getting into trouble again in the fourth, courtesy of a leadoff walk and an RBI double. Seattle scored two more against Webster in the fifth before manager John Farrell pulled the young right-hander, ending his streak of three straight quality starts.
At least there was some offense: For the first time during their skid, the Red Sox managed to score more than three runs, led by solid games at the plate for Yoenis Cespedes (3-for-4, one RBI) and Will Middlebrooks (2-for-5, three RBIs).
The offense hammered Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma for five runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings, marking his shortest outing of the season. In four career starts against Boston, Iwakuma has a 10.20 ERA -- by far his highest against any team.
The Red Sox were able to get the tying run to third base in both the sixth and seventh innings but could not score. After the Mariners scored in the top of the eighth, Boston was able to bring a run in but once again left the tying run at third.
In all, the Red Sox left 15 men on base.
Vazquez’s cannon: The arm of Christian Vazquez continues to be a valuable weapon for the Red Sox.
In the sixth inning, Seattle catcher Mike Zunino walked with one out before drifting too far off the bag and being picked off by Vazquez and tagged out in a rundown.
The next batter, Chris Taylor, singled, stole second and attempted to steal third, only to be gunned down by Vazquez. Ruled out by the umps, the Mariners challenged that Taylor was safe but the call was quickly upheld.
Vazquez now has three pickoffs this season, the most by a Red Sox catcher since Rich Gedman had five in 1985.
Stars falling: Two of the best in the game, both Ortiz and Robinson Cano were removed early from Sunday’s game.
In the fourth inning, Ortiz fouled a ball off his right foot, falling to the ground in pain before Farrell and a member of the training staff came out check on him. Ortiz remained in the game, striking out to end the at-bat.
In his next at-bat, Ortiz launched a ball off the bullpen wall in right field that should have been an extra-base hit. Instead, Ortiz limped to first, where Farrell and a trainer once again came out to check on him. This time he was removed from the game, as Johnson came on to run.
The Red Sox announced Ortiz exited with a right foot contusion.
As for Cano, the Mariners’ star second baseman left the game in the bottom of the third due to dizziness. He will be further evaluated.
Up next: The Red Sox will hope to get something going as they set off on a 10-game road trip against three AL East opponents -- Toronto, Tampa Bay, New York. The action will start Monday night against the Blue Jays as Clay Buchholz (5-8, 5.94 ERA) will take the mound against J.A. Happ (8-8, 4.39 ERA) at the Rogers Centre.