Red Sox

5 takeaways as Red Sox pile on runs in extra innings, defeat Mariners

Kyle Schwarber, once again, played a key role.

Red Sox Mariners
Jack Lopez of the Boston Red Sox scores off a passed ball. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Here are the takeaways as the Red Sox beat the Mariners 9-4 in 10 innings, claiming an important win in the standings with a late rally.

The Big Picture

Wednesday’s contest looked like it might be high scoring early. Hunter Renfroe started the scoring with a solo homer to center, and the Red Sox tacked on two more in the second with an RBI ground out by Kevin Plawecki and an RBI double by Jose Iglesias.

In the third inning, the Mariners answered. Tom Murphy drove in a run with a single, and Kyle Seagar tied the game with a two-run double.

Then both offenses went ice cold. Neither team scored for six innings. The Red Sox managed just one base hit in the interim — an infield single by Iglesias.

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Then, in the top of the 10th, the Red Sox exploded. Jack Lopez — the automatic baserunner at second — scored on a passed ball, tallying the go-ahead run with nobody out. J.D. Martinez eked out an infield single, driving in an insurance run. Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs with a single, and Christian Vazquez dropped a chalk-double down the line, driving in two more. When the dust settled, the Red Sox claimed a commanding 9-3 lead.

The Mariners drove in their automatic baserunner in the bottom of the frame but couldn’t challenge further.

Star of the Game

Kyle Schwarber — 1-for-4, two runs, two RBIs, walk

Consider this a combination award. Schwarber’s clutch hitting over the last two days helped earn the Red Sox two games they absolutely needed to remain in good standing. Wednesday’s single gave the Red Sox an insurmountable lead.

What It Means

The Red Sox started the day one percentage point out of the playoffs, trailing the Yankees despite having both one more win and one more loss than their rivals.

Wednesday’s win gives the Red Sox a nice lift. Now they head into a day off with a two-game winning streak and a crucial series against a beatable opponent. If the Red Sox take care of business against the Orioles, the three-game series against the Yankees at the end of next week looms incredibly large.

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“Nobody expected this home stand to mean something for the playoff hunt,” Alex Cora said.

Takeaways

1. Once again, the bullpen was excellent on Wednesday. All three Mariners runs came in the third inning off Tanner Houck — as Cora noted, Houck was solid apart from the third as well — but the bullpen held the Mariners scoreless the rest of the way, setting the table for the 10th inning rally.

Adam Ottavino said he took issue with the Mariners’ broadcast talking up the team’s bullpen.

“The Seattle broadcast was talking about how they had the bullpen advantage in this series and I think at least I took it personally,” he said. “So glad we were able to be the difference the last two nights.”

In fairness to the Seattle broadcast, the Mariners’ bullpen (and their pitching in general) propped up an anemic offense all season to keep the team in the playoff race.

Still, Red Sox relievers deserve a lot of credit.

“Every time I hand the ball off to them, I have full confidence in them,” Houck said. “I think they’ve done an incredible job, and I know they will continue to do an incredible job.”

2. Kyle Schwarber’s two-run single sent Rafael Devers around third to score. Devers collided hard with Tom Murphy, flipping the catcher over (both appeared to be okay).

3. Jose Iglesias started his career in Boston, and he seems pretty happy to be continuing it with the Red Sox.

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“This is home, of course,” he said. “This is home for me, this is where I want to win and like I said, it’s very organic for me to fight for this organization, to fight for this team. I love the guys, I love everybody here, I love this organization, so I’m extremely happy to give everything I’ve got for this team on a daily basis.”

What does he think of this year’s team?

“A bunch of great people who want to win,” he said. “This team is competing. It’s competing each and every pitch, we grind, we’re fighting together, you can see that, and I’m just extremely happy to be part of it and continue to lead and help any way I can.”

On Wednesday, Iglesias’s contributions included an impressive (and crucial) double-play ball.

4. Jack Lopez deserves credit for sticking with the big-league team after years of toiling in the minor leagues since 2012. His bat isn’t lighting the league on fire (2-for-12 with a pair of doubles and a run overall), but he has been solid in the field (just one error so far), and he scored the go-ahead run from second as the automatic baserunner on Wednesday.

Lopez might not be on next year’s team, but he is a nice story for this year’s squad.

5. Alex Cora likes the high-pressure games.

“It’s playoff baseball,” he said. “It feels that way. It’s fun to be honest with you. When you give your all and then at the end of the game, you’re exhausted for the right reasons — it’s not COVID or whatever — it’s good.”

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