Thursday, August 1, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- When the Seattle Mariners have Felix Hernandez on the mound, opposing teams better get to the right-hander early and often if they want to have success.
That wasn't the case for the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night at Fenway Park, as Hernandez exited after seven innings with a 7-1 lead.
However, take the King off his throne, and suddenly all you have to deal with are his court jesters.
The Red Sox rallied for seven runs, including six in the ninth, to steal an 8-7 win over the Mariners.
Hernandez was dealing and held the Red Sox to one run on six hits through seven innings of work, but Seattle's bullpen couldn't keep Boston's offense at bay as the Red Sox scored one run in the bottom of the eighth inning and six runs in the bottom of the ninth for the dramatic victory.
Boston's Daniel Nava provided the game-winning hit, a single blasted deep to center field with the bases loaded to give the Red Sox their 11th walk-off win of the season.
Hernandez finished with eight strikeouts and allowed only two walks. He tossed 107 pitches (66 for strikes) in his seven solid innings of work.
On the other side, Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster couldn't handle the Seattle order as the Mariners scorched the veteran right-hander for seven runs on nine hits. He walked five and struck out six.
After a 15-inning marathon victory against the Mariners on Wednesday night, Boston couldn't muster any offense against Hernandez on Thursday. The only run he surrendered came in the third inning when David Ortiz provided a sacrifice fly.
Things got out of hand for the Red Sox when the Mariners' Henry Blanco provided a grand slam in the five-run fifth inning.
After Dempster's night was complete, right-hander Steven Wright pitched well in his relief appearance and earned the win. He was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day and gave Boston's already taxed bullpen a big break. Wright worked the seventh, eighth and ninth innings and did not allow a run. He allowed only two hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
STAYING HOT: The Red Sox's Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a solo home run off Seattle reliever Charlie Furbush. It was Victorino's sixth homer of the season. In the last three games, he's 7-for-15 with two doubles, a home run, six runs scored and two RBIs. Since June 20, Victorino has hit safely in 23 of 32 games, including 10 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 20 RBIs.
YOUNG EFFORT: Red Sox infielder Brock Holt, who was recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Pawtucket after the Red Sox traded Jose Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers as part of a three-team, seven-player deal, is trying to make an impression. He's a gritty infielder and he's started the last two games at third base for the Red Sox. In the top of the third inning Thursday, his hustle got the best of him. After an all-out effort trying to make a diving catch in foul territory on a pop-up bunt attempt by the Mariners' Michael Saunders (who ultimately struck out), Holt made a miscue that cost the Red Sox a run. Seattle's Justin Smoak hit a high pop up directly behind home plate, and Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway was underneath it and could have made the catch for the out. However, Holt came charging in from third and called for the ball. Lavarnway backed off and the ball dropped in. Smoak then provided an RBI single to give the Mariners a 2-0 lead. Ironically, earlier in the day, Red Sox catchers worked on popups and Lavarnway handled the drill perfectly.
DEFENSIVE GEMS: With the Mariners holding a 7-2 lead in the top of the ninth inning, Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning, proved he has learned how to play the Monster. With a runner on first, Saunders hit a ball to left field that one-hopped the wall. Gomes made a barehanded play, turned and made a strong throw to Holt at third base to get the Mariners' Kendrys Morales. Gomes added another solid defensive play to end the inning when he made a leaping grab and slammed into the wall to rob Seattle's Endy Chavez of a possible hit and RBI. Gomes received a standing ovation as he ran off the field.
UP NEXT: The Red Sox face the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game interleague set, beginning Friday at Fenway Park. Boston left-hander Jon Lester (10-6, 4.27 ERA) will make his 23rd start of the season, and second career start against the Diamondbacks. His only other outing against Arizona came on June 16, 2010, when he earned the win after allowing two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings of work. Jake Peavy (8-4, 4.28) will make his Red Sox debut on Saturday, followed by Felix Doubront (7-5, 3.77) on Sunday.