With the Seattle Mariners melting down in front of their eyes, the Red Sox capitalized scoring six runs in the eighth, capped by Daniel Nava's walkoff single, to erase a five-run deficit in the ninth inning beat the Mariners 8-7 to earn a sweep of their three-game series.
For the second straight night, the Sox won in walkoff fashion. This time, it didn't take 15 innings. It was the Sox's 11th walkoff win of the season.
With a completely rickety ninth inning, Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen threatened to let Felix Hernandez's seven one-run innings go to waste. Wilhelmsen gave up two walks and two hits, including Brock Holt's RBI double, and left the bases loaded without recording an out.
Oliver Perez walked into a four-alarm fire, facing Shane Victorino, who had just hit his sixth homer of the season an inning earlier. He smacked a two-run single to right field to cut it to7-5. Dustin Pedroia followed up with a liner to left that scored Jacoby Ellsbury.
After David Ortiz struck out swinging, Jonny Gomes fell behind 0-and-2 but fought back to shoot the game-tying single up the middle.
It was the Sox's 24th walkoff win of the season.
Hernandez struck out eight while giving up just six hits, but was denied his second win over the Sox in a three-week span. Henry Blaco's fifth inning grand slam of Ryan Dempster, the third of his career, appeared to blow the game open. It gave Hernandez, who came in 102-25 with 2.88 when he gets two or more runs of support, more than enough room to breath.
Kendrys Morales went 4 for 5 with an RBI. Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak both with 2 for 4, fueling an offense that swatted 11 hits, roughing up Sox starter Ryan Dempster, who gave up seven runs on nine hits and five walks, in arguably his worst start of the season.
The Sox ran away with the season series 6-1. They've won all but two of their past 12 series at home.
End of the eighth, Mariners 7, Red Sox 2: Shane Victorino dotted the AAA sign for his sixth home run of the season. The Sox are still trying to dig out of a five-run hole.
End of the seventh, Mariners 7, Red Sox 1: So back to those numbers frmo earlier (Remember? King Felix was 102-25 with 2.88 in 168 career starts when the Mariners give him 2 or more runs of support).
He's in a pretty good spot to added another one to the win column. He's struck out eight, given up just six hits, and just managed a first-and-second, one-out situation like the bases were empty.
End of the sixth, Mariners 7, Red Sox 1: Safe to say this was easily Ryan Dempster's worst start of the season, but you could also say it was one of the 10 worst of his career.
According to baseball reference, he's only had nine other starts where he's given up at least five runs, five hits, five walks and a homer.
Middle of the fifth, Mariners 7, Red Sox 1: Well, never mind ... The Mariners just blew the game open with a five-run inning. Henry Blanco's third career grand slam did the damage.
It was the 21st homer Ryan Dempster's given up this season, the eighth-most in the American League and he's now nine shy of the career-high 30 he gave up in 2000 with the Mariners. It was only the third homer he's allowed with men on this season.
Through five innings he's given up seven runs on eight hits and five walks.
End of the fourth, Mariners 2, Red Sox 1: After Felix Hernandez went worked nine innings, struck out 11, gave up five hits and just one run to Minnesota and came away without a decision (in a game the Mariners lost, 3-2, no less), the quotes from interim manager Robby Thompson couldn't have sounded more disheartened.
“That was vintage Felix,’’ Thompson told the Seattle Times. “And again, obviously there was not whole lot of run support for him and we squandered some opportunities."
He's 102-25 with 2.88 in 168 career starts when the Mariners give him 2 or more runs of support. The Mariners scores 29 runs for him in his four starts in July, but he's gotten two or fewer 11 times this season.
He's pitching well again, but doesn't have a lot of room to work with.
End of the third, Mariners 2, Red Sox 1:The walks are slowly starting to stack up for Ryan Dempster. He paid putting Kyle Seager on first then giving up a single to Kendrys Morales lead off the third. After he got Michael Saunders to whiff at a slider, Justin Smoak lined a fastball to right to score Seager.
The Sox were able to get one back on a play that simultaneously scored a run and ended the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury led things off with a double -- his second hit of the night, then moved to third on Shane Victorino's fly ball to center. Dustin Pedroia worked a walk out of Hernandez to make it first and third with one out for David Ortiz.
Ortiz did his job, lifting a fly ball to left field. As Ellsbury raced home, Seager cut the throw off in the middle of the infield and fired to second to catch Dustin Pedroia just after Ellsbury crossed the plate.
Meanwhile, Felix Hernandez is at 44 pitches.
End of the second, Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: Outside of a five-pitch walk to Henry Blanco, things went a little more smoothly for Dempster in the second.
He got Dustin Ackley to sky out to right, fanned Brad Miller with a splitter and got Nick Franklin to fly out to center. In all, it only took him 14 pitches.
On the other end of the things, the Sox couldn't take advantage of a Stephen Drew's leadoff single off Hernandez, who buzzed the bottom of the lineup. Daniel Nava and Brock Holt both grounded out on weak contact and Ryan Lavarnway whiffed at 93-mile per-hour curveball.
As @PeteAbe points out, Lavarnway's had a tough draw recently.
Last 4 pitchers Ryan Lavarnway has started against: Bartolo Colon, Matt Moore, David Price and King Felix tonight.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) August 1, 2013
End of the first, Mariners 1, Red Sox 0:You don't see many No. 3 hitters laying down bunts with runners in scoring position, but with one out and Brad Miller on third thanks to a leadoff single, that's how Kyle Seager managed to get the run home.
It's only the second time he's dropped a bunt down this season and the eighth time he's done it in his career, and it got the Ms an early lead.
Meanwhile, the Sox were silenced by King Felix. But here's something interesting. Farrell said, if it go to a point where Hernandez was throwing a ton of strikes, the Sox would have to consider jumping on him earlier in the count.
From Jacoby Ellsbury (three-pitch at-bat) to Shane Victorino (3) to David Ortiz (1) to Mike Carp (4 with two swinging misses), the Sox don't seem like they're going to sit around while another pitcher pumps them full of strikes.
Pregame: Everyone's still bouncing back from 15 physically and mentally draining innings, but with Felix Hernandez on the mound, the Red Sox don't get much of a chance to breath.
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