Mariners win in 12 after letting big lead slip away
By Greg Johns and Alec Shirkey
BOSTON -- One day after the Red Sox pounded them for 22 runs, the Mariners' offense responded by hammering four homers in Sunday's 10-8 extra-innings victory at Fenway Park.
After blowing an early seven-run lead and scoring just one run in a span of eight innings, Seattle finally broke through for a pair of runs in the 12th, with Mike Zunino supplying the go-ahead hit on a bases-loaded chopper over the head of shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Righty Danny Farquhar picked up his first save of the season with a scoreless inning.
"It's huge to win this one, especially how we jumped out to a lead early today," Zunino said after the Mariners pulled out a victory in the finale of three-game series where they gave up 45 runs and 60 hits. "If that had slipped away, it would have been pretty demoralizing. It was a good way to sneak it out there and hopefully we can carry some momentum into Texas."
The surging Red Sox offense slowly chipped away at a hefty deficit before tying the game in the ninth on a single by first baseman Travis Shaw. But in a puzzling turn, designated hitter David Ortiz was thrown out by Seth Smith trying to score from second on the play, sending the game to extras. Reliever Craig Breslow, who worked scoreless innings in the 10th and 11th, allowed four hits in the 12th and took his third loss of the season.
"Bres had 18 pitches through two innings," Boston interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "He was just cruising through their lineup. Given where we were in the bullpen, we thought we could get one more inning out of him. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way."
Seattle jumped on rookie left-hander Henry Owens right away, tagging him for three runs in the first inning and four runs in the third, and outfielder Nelson Cruz added to the barrage by clubbing his Major League-leading 36th home run in the seventh. Mariners lefty Vidal Nuno gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings, including two homers, before the Seattle bullpen surrendered another four.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cano keeps climbing back:Robinson Cano got the Mariners started with a two-run homer in the first, his 13th of the season, to kickstart his 5-for-7 day that also included an RBI single in the third and a double in the seventh. After a slow start, the six-time All-Star has hit .342 with 10 doubles and nine home runs over his last 38 games to hike his season batting average to .274.
"I always enjoy playing here," Cano said after matching his career high for hits in a game. "The atmosphere, the fans here, you love to go out and see how they cheer for their team and how bad they want their team to win. You go out there and want to get your job done. There's history in this ballpark. You walk in here and know superstars, Hall of Famers, the glory of baseball has been in this clubhouse and that dugout. It smells like baseball in here."
Hit-or-miss: When Owens wasn't throwing strike three, he was watching a ball sail over his head. The rookie left-hander ended up with one of the stranger pitching lines of the season, allowing seven runs and 10 hits -- including three homers -- while striking out 10 over six innings. His final three frames were scoreless, and he gave the Sox some much-needed innings. More >
"By and large, I'm not going to lose any confidence in this outing," Owens said. "I just know what I have to do to get outs."
Guti hits a pair: Veteran left fielder Franklin Gutierrez continued his clutch hitting with his sixth and seventh home runs since being called up from Triple-A seven weeks ago. The 32-year-old, who missed all of last season with health issues, unleashed a majestic solo shot to center in the first that Statcast™ projected to land 447 feet away. He followed that up with a three-run blast to right field in the third that gave Seattle a 7-0 lead. It was Gutierrez's second multihomer game in his career and his 2-for-4 day puts his season average at .313 in 31 games.
"It's a good sign," Gutierrez said of hitting two homers to center and right. "Normally most pitchers throw away. When you're hitting the ball all over the place, it's great for me as a hitter. To hit to the opposite side with power always helps. I guess because I've gained a little more weight, I'm hitting the ball a little stronger now." More >
Papi can't reach the plate: With a chance to win the game, the Red Sox aggressively elected to send Ortiz home on Shaw's shallow game-tying single. The move did not pay off, as Smith easily gunned the slugger down at home even though his throw bounced twice. The club left Ortiz in the game instead of using a pinch-runner at that point because, in the mind of its acting manager, losing him would have crippled the lineup.
"The way I was looking at it, David was the go-ahead run, not the tying run," Lovullo said. "To eliminate him from this game, it takes such a toll on our lineup. His presence and his force and his ability to change the game with one swing is really impressive. To take him out of the game in that situation ... I just felt like it wasn't the right move. I wanted to give us a chance in case we went into extra innings."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cano and Gutierrez hit consecutive homers in the first inning, the seventh time Seattle has gone back-to-back this year, the most in the Majors, and the most for the Mariners since they did it eight times in 2013 and 2006. Seattle's club record is 18 back-to-back home runs in a season, set in 1996.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a fourth-inning double to give himself seven extra-base hits for the series, which is the most by a Red Sox player in a single series since Dwight Evans matched the feat against the Tigers on Aug. 12-14, 1988. Bradley is hitting .519 with 12 runs scored, 13 RBIs and 10 extra-base knocks over his current six-game hitting streak.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Mariners successfully challenged a pair of calls, one on Nuno's pickoff of Mookie Betts in the third inning and the other on a close play at first on Rusney Castillo in the fifth, which resulted in a double play for Seattle.
Lovullo lost a challenge in the seventh inning on a close play at first base on Bogaerts' RBI groundout, as the out call was confirmed after review.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Taijuan Walker (8-7, 4.60 ERA) takes the mound for Monday's 5:05 p.m. PT opener of a three-game series in Arlington against lefty Cole Hamels, who is looking for his first win since being acquired by the Rangers on July 31. Walker is 7-2 with a 3.33 ERA over his last 14 starts.
Red Sox: Right-hander Matt Barnes makes his first Major League start on Monday night, when Boston welcomes the Indians and former manager Terry Francona to Fenway Park for a three-game series. Barnes turned in a 5.64 ERA in 21 relief appearances for the Sox this year.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.