Monday, September 3, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1
By John Hickey, Special to ESPNBoston.com
SEATTLE -- The presence owner John Henry and general manager Ben Cherington making rare road appearances didn’t change the Red Sox’s performance much Monday.
True, Clay Buchholz was on top of his game for six of his seven innings after a stretch that saw the Sox starting pitchers last no more than 3 2/3 innings in three consecutive starts. But the bulk of the Mariners offense, combined with two rotten defensive plays by the Red Sox, came in the decisive four-run Seattle fourth inning as punchless Sox fell, 4-1.
It’s been a long time since the Red Sox have looked so bad for so long. They’ve lost seven consecutive games for the first time since a nine-game losing streak in 2001.
In the streak, they’ve been outscored 58-16. That meant Monday’s game was somewhat closer than their current standard, but still not much fun for Red Sox partisans to watch.
Bright spot: The first hit of the game was Dustin Pedroia’s first-inning double, the 1,000th hit of his career. Over the shorter term, Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Bleak spot: The Boston defense completely fell apart in the fourth inning, a throwing error by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and a bobble by shortstop Jose Iglesias making a tough inning worse. Only one of the four Seattle runs was unearned, but the sheer ugliness of it all was something to behold. Or not.
New face: Chris Carpenter, the pitcher the Sox received as compensation from the Cubs when Theo Epstein headed to Chicago, was called up before the game. After giving up a two-out walk, he got the final out of the eighth inning.
One bad inning: Buchholz retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, but Franklin Gutierrez opened the Mariners fourth with an infield single, and then all hell broke loose. Buchholz compounded things by hitting Kyle Seager, then John Jaso and Justin Smoak ripped RBI singles before the Boston defense kicked in a couple of errors to help mold what would be a four-run inning. Buchholz wound up giving up just six hits total, but four in the space of six batters in the fourth cost him.