Game over: Mariners 5, Red Sox 4
After returning home from a 10-day road trip with a 6-3 record, the Red Sox began an 11-game homestand in an inauspicious manner, squandering a 4-2 lead in a 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners Friday night before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,845.
Jason Vargas (1-2) picked up the win in going seven innings while allowing four runs on eight hits. Bobby Jenks (1-2) absorbed the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in the seventh.
Brandon League, who struck out pinch-hitter J.D. Drew looking to end the game, got the save.
Top of ninth: Mariners 5, Red Sox 4
After the Sox were unable to generate any offense against Wright, who submitted a tidy-1-2-3 effort in the bottom of the ninth, they now need Daniel Bard, in the game for Hideki Okajima (1 inning, 2 walks), to hold it down in the top of the ninth. Bard, who absorbed with his third loss of the season after allowing an unearned run in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss at Baltimore, did precisely that by getting the Mariners to go down in order.
Top of eighth: Mariners 5, Red Sox 4
After Vargas got the Sox to go down in 1-2-3 fashion in the bottom of the seventh, Hideki Okajima took over for Jenks (1 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout). The Sox needed Okie to put up a zero here. Just when it appeared that might not be the case, especially after Okie allowed Michael Saunders and Ichiro to reach on walks, Dustin Pedroia came up with a huge double play, stepping on the bag to make the force on Ichiro on second and then firing to first to turn the double play on Figgins at first. End of inning. End of threat. Jamey Wright is now in the game for Vargas (7 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 2 home runs).
Middle of seventh: Mariners 5, Red Sox 4
Update: Matsuzaka left the game with right elbow tightness.
Bobby Jenks is now in the game in relief of Albers (2 innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout). Sox need a big inning from the big guy to set up the back end of the bullpen. Jenks, however, was unable to deliver, allowing the Mariners to score two go-ahead runs on three hits, including a run-scoring ground out by Miguel Olivio that pushed across Ichiro (single) with the tying run and a towering RBI double off the wall by Jack Cust that scored Chone Figgins (double) with the go-ahead run.
Middle of fifth: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3
After Matsuzaka left the game, the Mariners pushed across an unearned run when Ichiro, who advanced to second on a single by Chone Figgins and went to third on Milton Bradley’s fielder’s choice, scored on a fielding error by relief pitcher Matt Albers, who was unable to handle Jed Lowrie’s throw from second on the attempt to turn the double play. Albers got out of the inning when he got Miguel Olivio to fly to right and struck out Justin Smoak (looking at a 96 fastball). Still no word on the reason for Matsuzaka’s departure. His line; 4-plus innings, 3 runs (1 earned), 4 walks, 4 strikeouts. He threw 82 pitches, 46 for strikes.
Top of fifth: Red Sox 4, Mariners 2
After giving up a lead-off single to Ichiro in the fifth, Matsuzaka has departed the game because of an unknown injury. Manager Terry Francona, trainer Mike Reinold and assistant trainer Masai Takahashi rushed out to the mound to huddle with Matsuzaka and catcher Jason Varitek. Matt Albers is now in the game for the Sox.
Bottom of fourth: Red Sox 4, Mariners 2
Mike Cameron left no doubt about this one. After hitting a solo homer in the second that wrapped around the Pesky Pole in right, Cameron hit his second homer of the season in as many at-bats against Jason Vargas, driving an 0-2 pitch into the Green Monster seats to make it 4-2. It was Cameron’s 16th multi-homer game of his career and first since Sept. 21, 2009, against the Cubs when he played for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bottom of third: Red Sox 3, Mariners 2
With two out and men on the corners, Kevin Youkilis ties it up with his sharply-hit RBI single to left that scores Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to third on Adrian Gonzalez’s single to center. With men still on the corners, David Ortiz, who entered the game hitting .160 (4 for 25) with men in scoring position, hit an RBI single to center, scoring Gonzalez from third to give the Sox a one-run lead, 3-2.
Middle of third: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1
Dice-K looks like he’s settled down a bit after his rocky first inning. He’s retired seven of the last eight batters he’s faced. He’s allowed only one walk (to Michael Saunders in the second) while recording three strikeouts, the last two in a row to end the top of the third in 1-2-3 fashion.
Bottom of second: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1
Mike Cameron hit what looked to be a pop up that was headed for foul territory down the right field line. But it wound up wrapping around the Pesky Pole for a solo homer, Cameron’s first of the season on a first-pitch offering from Seattle lefthander Jason Vargas.
Middle of first,: Mariners 2, Red Sox 0
Dice-K gave up a two-run single to right to first baseman Justin Smoak, scoring Chone Figgins (who reached on a walk) and Miguel Olivio (single to left). Olivio advanced to second on an error by left fielder Darnell McDonald. It was Boston’s eighth error of the season and first in nine games.
Daisuke Matsuzaka has just induced Ichirio Suzuki to pop up to left for the first out of the game. More updates to come. As always, please feel free to post your comments here.