After three tense games, series ends with Red Sox rolling over Mariners
SEATTLE – After three consecutive games decided by the slimmest of margins and the outcome in doubt until the final pitch of the game, the finale of the well-attended four-game series between the Mariners and Red Sox at Safeco Field had no such drama.
A crowd of 46,462 – the second sellout of the season and seventh largest crowd in Safeco Field history – watched the vaunted Red Sox offense, stymied by Wade LeBlanc a day earlier, reasserted its dominance in a decisive 9-3 victory while enjoying a perfect Father’s Day in the sun.
“We haven’t been in one of those in quite some time,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “You play 162 games and once in a while you’ll have a dud. We just didn’t get it going.”
The Red Sox came alive for five runs in the third inning against starter Mike Leake and tacked on three more runs in the seventh with a pair of homers off Chasen Bradford to secure a split of the four-game series.
“That’s a really good team over there,” Servais said. “That’s why they have the record they have. We are a good team and that’s why we have the record we have. It’s disappointing that we didn’t finish it off and win the series, but overall a very good home stand.”
Seattle fell to 46-26, while Boston improved to 49-24. The Mariners finished the seven-game homestand with a 5-2 record. The two teams will hook up again in five days with a weekend series at Fenway Park. The Mariners will start a three-city, 10-game trip with a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
“We’ll see them again next week in Boston and I think our guys are looking forward to it,” Servais said. “This stretch in this schedule, everybody is like, ‘Oh, this is going to be tough and you haven’t played anybody.’ We are just fine.”
Leake (7-4) wiggled out of trouble in the second inning with some help from his defense, but there was no escaping an interminable third inning when all nine Red Sox hitters came to the plate.
“Mike had a hard time getting a feel with his breaking ball,” Servais said. “It was pretty much fastball-changeup, back and forth. They threw some really good at-bats him too.”
Stunningly, all the damage came with two outs. Leake retired Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts to start the inning. But back-to-back singles from Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts and a nine-pitch walk to the ultra-dangerous J.D. Martinez loaded the bases. Mitch Moreland’s ground ball up the middle managed to get through the Mariners’ middle infielders for a two-run single.
“It was a mistake in the middle,” Leake said of the pitch.
Rafael Devers made it 5-0 with one vicious swing on a 1-2 slider from Leake that backed up over the plate. Devers hit a missile off the windows of the Hit It Here Cafe for a three-run homer.
“I was trying to get him back foot and it went right to the middle,” Leake said.
Down 5-0, the Mariners tried to chip away at the lead against Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez. Nelson Cruz smashed a solo homer into the upper deck of deep left center to cut it to 5-1. But their rally hopes were lessened when they loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth and came away with just one run on a fielder’s choice to make it 5-2.
“We had some opportunities,” Servais said. “We had some guys in scoring position and didn’t put a big inning together. I say all that, and it’s 5-2, and with the way we’ve been going we still felt we had a chance. We get the bases loaded and you think we have a chance to pull some magic out again.”
After the third, Leake gave the Mariners three scoreless innings to keep it manageable. He worked six innings, allowing the five runs on eight hits with a walk and a strikeout.
“They made it tough today,” he said. “They weren’t giving me any breaks. They are a veteran team. They know what it takes to put good games together.”
Bradford entered the game in the seventh and immediately allowed a leadoff homer to Bradley and later a two-run homer to Bogaerts that made yet another Mariners comeback victory impossible.
“Bullpen just couldn’t quite hold them,” Servais said. “Chasen Bradford has been very good, but he just made a couple mistakes.”
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