Red Sox edge M's in thriller, sit 1 back of O's

Red Sox edge M's in thriller, sit 1 back of O's

SEATTLE -- A day later and in a different city, the Red Sox again pulled out a dramatic victory, this time edging out the Mariners, 2-1, on Monday at Safeco Field.

Mookie Betts smashed a solo homer to left to lead off the top of the ninth against Seattle closer Steve Cishek, snapping a 1-1 tie. It was home run No. 22 for Betts, and it gave the Red Sox -- who trail the Orioles by one game in the American League East -- their first lead of the night.

"I know he's a tough at-bat, any side-arm guy's going to be tough," said Betts of Cishek. "I was just trying to get a fastball up so I could at least put it in play. I know anything down I'm going to beat into the ground, so just got something elevated and put a good swing on it."

Closer Craig Kimbrel got the save on the same day he was activated from the disabled list and exactly three weeks after he underwent left knee surgery.

Kimbrel shuts the door

Shut down for the first seven innings, the Red Sox got a huge swing from Aaron Hill in the top of the eighth, a one-out, game-tying homer to snap the shutout bid of Mariners starter James Paxton.

The thrilling victory came a day after Boston roared back from a 3-0 deficit in the top of the ninth to beat the Angels, 5-3.

"It's the focus and the attitude that we've displayed right through the final out that's recorded," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Tonight is a little bit different than yesterday, when we're down three. In this case tonight, we're in a situation where we're creating many opportunities but two swings of the bat late, there's an instant rush through that dugout. And deservedly so."

Eduardo Rodriguez turned in a strong performance for the Red Sox, allowing three hits and a run over 6 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out six. Other than the misfire to Hill, Paxton was masterful for Seattle in his eight innings, giving up four hits and a run while walking none and striking out six.

Rodriguez's strong start

"Early in the game, I didn't really have my breaking stuff working too well," Paxton said. "But I was moving the fastball around enough to get it off the barrel. And then, I think it was the fifth inning, my cutter really started to come around. We started using that a bit more, and it was working well."

Hill's equalizer:
When Hill stepped to the plate with one out in the eighth, he had only one extra-base hit since joining the Red Sox on July 8. But he made his second one a biggie, lacing that game-tying shot over the wall in left. The blast went a projected distance of 382 feet, according to Statcast™.

"The biggest thing is he's getting some regular at-bats of late," said Farrell. "I think that probably goes a long way. We're in a stretch of left-handers that he's going to get more regular at-bats."

Hill's first Red Sox homer

M's D up: Paxton had a quick defense behind him that chased down a few tough balls in the air to keep the Red Sox scoreless through seven innings. Second baseman Robinson Cano made the first impressive grab. His shoestring catch on Hanley Ramirez's soft line drive was the second out in a 1-2-3 second inning. In the third, right fielder Franklin Gutierrez caught a long fly ball from Hill, just two steps before running into the wall, for the first out of the inning. Two innings later, Leonys Martin made a running grab on Ramirez's line drive in right-center field to end the fifth.

Martin's running grab

Rodriguez starts DP with self defense: When Shawn O'Malley hit a bullet up the middle with one out in the third, Rodriguez's first thought was to try to protect himself. The baseball was heading toward his face. It couldn't have worked out any better. E-Rod caught the liner and threw to first, where Gutierrez was easily doubled off to end the inning.

"I thought that ball was going to hit me in the face," Rodriguez said. "The ball just went into my glove. I didn't catch it. That ball just went in and stayed there. When I felt it, I just threw to first base. I was lucky that ball didn't hit me."

Rodriguez turns two

Dae-Ho drives one in: Dae-Ho Lee's RBI double put the Mariners ahead, 1-0, in the seventh inning. With runners on first and second, Lee poked a line drive into right center field. Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. made a diving stop to keep the ball from bouncing to the fence, but Cano hustled from second to cross the plate standing. Kyle Seager then was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but the Mariners left them stranded.

"It seems like the pressure mounts on our guys," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of two batter striking out with the bases loaded. "Pressure comes from within. The pressure's on the pitcher. He's got the bases loaded."

Servais on Mariners' 2-1 loss

"By all accounts, all reports, whether it's the staff at the Minor League side or scouts that have gone through and watched him repeatedly, he's ready. We're going to get a first-hand look at this very soon." -- Farrell on prospect Andrew Benintendi, who will join the Red Sox in Seattle on Tuesday and likely make his first Major League start on Wednesday

Dustin Pedroia's streak of reaching base in 34 straight games dating back to June 21 ended on Monday.

Red Sox: Ace David Price will try to build off his last start, when he fired eight shutout innings against the Angels. Price was in position to get the win, but wound up with a no-decision when Boston suffered a walk-off, 2-1 loss. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET.

Mariners: Wade LeBlanc will get the ball for the Mariners in his fifth start of the season. LeBlanc has not started since July 18, but he got his first career save in his last outing, throwing the final three innings in the Mariners' 14-5 win in Toronto on July 23. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Maddie Lee is a reporter for based in Seattle.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.