Red Sox edge Mariners to snap seven-game skid

Red Sox edge Mariners to snap seven-game skid

Red Sox edge Mariners to snap seven-game skid
SEATTLE -- The Red Sox aren't going home empty-handed. That doesn't mean they didn't have to sweat it out, though.

It took eight games, but Boston finally got its first win of a frustrating road trip, stranding a two-out triple in the ninth inning to knock off the Mariners, 4-3, on Tuesday night at Safeco Field. The victory snapped a streak of seven consecutive losses and eight straight defeats on the road.

With the much-needed win in jeopardy after Eric Thames' triple in the ninth inning, Andrew Bailey shut the door by getting Kyle Seager to fly out to right to end the threat. Bailey's second save of the season capped a scoreless three innings for the bullpen, including two critical outs by Junichi Tazawa with two runners on in the seventh.

"I say it a lot, the bullpen, it doesn't really matter who's closing, that game was won in the seventh inning when a couple guys got on and Taz came in and got out of it," Bailey said. "He was MVP out of the bullpen today, for sure."

The Red Sox found themselves in an early hole with a sputtering offense, as they tallied four hits through the first five innings but failed to push a run across.

Thanks to Cody Ross and Ryan Lavarnway, the bats finally came alive in the sixth. And when they did, they brought the thunder.

Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury hit back-to-back singles to begin the frame off Mariners starter Blake Beavan. Ross followed with a blast into the Boston bullpen to tie the game, and three batters later, Lavarnway hit a near-replica shot to left to put the Red Sox up, 4-3.

"That was a big inning," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "Dustin got a two-strike hit and Ells had a line-drive base hit to right that we were looking for. Cody relaxed, took a deep breath and jumped on a slider, hit it out. Cody's been a pretty big player for us."

The Red Sox had squandered a few opportunities before Ross' blast, as they stranded runners in scoring position on three occasions. There was no wasting chances in the sixth, though, and the result was the Sox scoring more than three runs for the first time in a week.

Boston starter Jon Lester was the fortunate recipient of the run support, and has now won four of his five decisions after dropping five straight. His run of success includes a pair of one-run outings and a 12-strikeout performance, but Tuesday was a grittier effort.

He allowed three runs in the first three innings, gave up nine hits and walked a pair. As the game wore on, though, the southpaw worked well with runners aboard. By the time he exited after six innings, he had thrown 111 pitches, setting down the side in order just once.

"I just couldn't really get into a rhythm, just kind of battling myself again tonight, throwing a lot of balls," Lester said. "Took us a while to figure out what they were doing.

"They did a good job of laying off some really good cutters and took us awhile to kind of figure out what we needed to do from there and change our game plan. After that we were able to settle down a little bit and get some weaker contact."

The early runs Lester allowed came in a hurry, as he fell into a big hole in the span of three pitches. Already down, 1-0, after a first-inning run, Lester served up a home run to Franklin Gutierrez to commence the third. Seager followed suit two pitches later, driving his 16th blast of the season into right-center.

But the Red Sox's rally ended the losing streak and the result was a relieved team happy to be back in the win column.

"The guys looked happy after the game," Valentine said. "It's great to see them with smiles."

Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.