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Red Sox fall to Mariners in 11 innings

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 1, 2012
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SEATTLE — It usually takes only a few runs to defeat the offensively challenged Seattle Mariners, especially in the wide-open spaces of Safeco Field.

But that has been difficult for the Red Sox, who stumbled to a 3-2 loss in 11 innings on Saturday night.

Chone Figgins had a sacrifice fly off Alfredo Aceves to win the game for the Mariners.

Aceves (0-5) allowed a one-out single by Dustin Ackley, who took third on a single by Miguel Olivo. Figgins then lined to right field. Cody Ross had a strong throw but it was not in time.

The Mariners have taken two of the first three games of the series despite scoring only four runs. The Sox will try to salvage a split this afternoon with Felix Doubront facing Jason Vargas.

The Sox had 11 hits but were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.

The first four hitters in the Sox order — Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — were 3 for 19.

The Sox had two on and one out in the ninth inning and couldn’t score. Pedroia and Ortiz led off the 10th with singles. But Saltalamacchia struck out before Adrian Gonzalez and Will Middlebrooks grounded into force plays at second base.

The Red Sox activated Josh Beckett from the disabled list to make the start. He had last pitched June 11 before being sidelined with a sore shoulder.

Beckett threw only one bullpen session during his hiatus, leaving the coaching staff wondering how effective he would be.

He was just fine at first, holding the Mariners without a hit until Olivo singled to left field with two outs in the fifth inning. Figgins ended the inning with a fly ball to right field.

To that point, Red Sox starters had gone 22 scoreless innings in the series.

That streak ended in the sixth inning. Ichiro Suzuki flicked a single into left field with one out and stole second. Beckett walked Casper Wells before Kyle Seager hit a popup down the line in left field.

It was a play that should have been made, but the ball fell between left fielder Nava and shortstop Mike Aviles to load the bases.

John Jaso, who was 0 for 11 in his career against Beckett with five strikeouts, was next. He lined a changeup off the wall in right field for a two-run double.

Beckett was done after six innings and 85 pitches.

Mark Melancon allowed two singles in the seventh inning before Andrew Miller struck out Seager for the third out.

Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez retired the first eight Red Sox in order, the 22-year-old righthander from Nicaragua giving up a few hard-hit balls but leaving the bases empty.

But he injured himself reaching for a ball hit back to the mound by Ryan Kalish in the third inning. After throwing one pitch to Aviles, Ramirez motioned to catcher Olivo.

A long conference on the mound ensued before Seattle manager Eric Wedge decided to make a change.

Lefthander Charlie Furbush, a native of South Portland, Maine, took the mound. Aviles singled to center field before Nava struck out looking.

The Sox got something going with two outs in the fourth inning. Saltalamacchia singled then went to third on a single to right field by Gonzalez. That extended Gonzalez’s hitting streak to 11 games.

Middlebrooks was next and he struck out swinging on four pitches, the final pitch a curveball that he was not expecting and took a half-swing at.

Furbush walked Ross to start the fifth inning. Ross then stole second as Kalish struck out. But Aviles grounded to third and Nava lined to shortstop after fouling off three two-strike pitches.

Furbush left after 2 innings and 40 pitches.

Another lefthander, Lucas Luetge, was next out of the Seattle bullpen. He retired the Sox in order in the sixth inning before Gonzalez singled to start the seventh.

Brandon League replaced Luetge. Middlebrooks and Ross singled to load the bases. Kalish drove in a run when he grounded into a force out. Middlebrooks then scored on a passed ball charged to League.

Aviles grounded out but Nava walked to extend the inning. Pedroia grounded to shortstop.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.

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