SEATTLE -- Rick Porcello pitched into the seventh inning and Blake Swihart's RBI double in the sixth plated the go-ahead run off Felix Hernandez as the Red Sox topped the Mariners, 4-2, on Saturday, handing Hernandez his first loss of the season in front of a crowd of 45,055 at Safeco Field.
"Given the way things have been going, four runs is a little bit of an outburst for us," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We had a very good overall approach tonight. We've got a big arm going against us tomorrow, and hopefully this continues."
Boston scored twice off Hernandez in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie after the Mariners' ace walked three batters in a frame for just the eighth time in his 11-year career. The win was the fifth in the last seven games for the Red Sox, who improved to 18-19 heading into Sunday's series finale.
"He tweaked his ankle a little bit," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who visited Hernandez with the trainer in the middle of that inning, but left him in to finish it out. "He told me it was OK, but I'm not sure if it didn't affect him a little bit. He seemed to lose his command after that a little bit. It was a tough inning for him."
Hernandez gave up seven hits -- including solo homers by Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz -- in falling to 6-1 with a 2.30 ERA. Brad Miller hit a pair of solo home runs for Seattle (16-20), but that was all the Mariners mustered against Porcello (4-2), as he allowed just five hits in 6 2/3 innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Panda, Papi lead attack against Felix: The early homers by Pablo Sandoval (second inning) and David Ortiz (third) proved early that Hernandez was beatable, despite his brilliant start to the season. The Red Sox scored more runs on Saturday than in the first two games of the series combined. It was the second time the Red Sox have beaten an elite pitcher in four days, as they topped Sonny Gray on Wednesday in Oakland.
"That's been very encouraging. The resiliency that we're showing," said Farrell. "The ability to bounce back after we've given up a run. We've answered right back on a number of occasions, particularly the last two series. I think it's guys kind of settling in, and even though we haven't had the consistent run production, we're answering when the opposing team scores."
He hits 'em in pairs: Miller's two homers -- solo shots in the first and fifth frames -- gave him the fifth multi-homer game of his career. Of his 22 career home runs, 10 have come in five contests. Playing designated hitter in his new utility role for the Mariners, Miller went 2-for-3 with a walk and is 8-for-17 with three doubles, three home runs and four RBIs in his last five games to hike his batting average from .225 to .264. More >
Porcello king for the night: In an interview on Friday, Porcello said he couldn't recall if he had ever faced Hernandez. He will surely remember this performance, as he outdueled perhaps the best pitcher in the American League. This was the third career meeting between Porcello and Hernandez, and the first time Porcello recorded a win. This was the fourth straight start Porcello allowed three earned runs or fewer.
"I'm just trying to put up zeros for us and get some wins. I don't think it's anything more than that. I'm trying to do my job," said Porcello. More >
Tough bounce for Ackley: The Mariners missed a chance for a run in the fourth, when Dustin Ackley scorched a double that one-hopped the wall in right-center for a ground-rule double. Kyle Seager was running on the two-out hit and would have scored easily if the ball hadn't jumped the fence.
"Bum luck is a good way of putting it," said McClendon. "That was tough. That's a run, and you never know. Things could be different, but that's the way it goes."
"Ricky threw a nice ballgame. But listen, we can't make everybody Cy Young. We're just not swinging the bats the way we're capable of swinging them. I have full confidence we'll come out of it, but right now, we're just not swinging the way we're capable." -- McClendon on Porcello's strong outing.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• After allowing just one homer in his first five games in April, Hernandez has surrendered five in his three May starts, including two apiece to the A's and Red Sox in his last two outings.
• Ortiz is one of the few players who can say he has a strong track record against Hernandez. The slugger is a .395 hitter (15-for-38) against King Felix in his career, belting two homers. More >
THROWING BACK TO '46
The Red Sox and Mariners had a different look in Saturday's game, with both teams wearing the uniforms of former Negro League squads in a "Turn Back the Clock to 1946" tribute. The Red Sox wore the uniforms of the Boston Royal Giants, while the Mariners duplicated the old Seattle Steelheads. Even Safeco Field got into the spirit, with the big video board showing all replays in black and white and an organist providing the night's musical interludes. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright draws his first start of the season in place of Justin Masterson, who is on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. ET. This will be Wright's third career start. He has pitched twice for the Red Sox out of the bullpen this season.
Mariners:James Paxton looks to continue his recent surge as Seattle closes out its nine-game homestand in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT contest. Paxton is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last three outings and 10-6, 3.14 ERA in 24 career starts. This will be his first time facing an AL East team.