Seattle left-hander allows one run on four hits in seven innings as the Mariners earn a series victory over the Red Sox.
Not a bad afternoon for the Mariners as far as their returns in the Doug Fister trade went.
The Mariners got seven strong innings out of left-handed starter Charlie Furbush on Sunday and a key home run off the bat of Casper Wells. It added up to a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox and a rare series victory for Seattle against an American League team other than the Oakland Athletics.
In fact, the last time the Mariners won a series against an AL squad other than Oakland was in the first week of June. They had gone 2-9-1 in series against AL squads before taking this one, while turning over a fair degree of the 25-man major-league roster in the process.
“Definitely, being here for a few weeks now, it’s been pretty comfortable getting to know the guys and everything around here,” said Furbush, acquired from Detroit along with Wells for Fister and David Pauley on July 30. “I’ve never been traded before, so obviously a lot of guys I’ve talked to with the Tigers and guys over here who have been traded in the past, they told me things you’ve got to deal with. Just getting acclimated with a new city, new people.
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“I’ve had a blast. It’s definitely not a bad thing to get traded.”
Not when you can hold a high-powered team like the Red Sox to a run on four hits over seven innings while striking out six the way Furbush did. Boston hadn’t lost a series since late June and had posted seven consecutive winning trips until finishing this one 3-3.
Furbush was helped by a couple of deep fly balls that seemed to get knocked down by the Safeco Field effect, while a scorching line drive was snared by the fully extended dive of shortstop Jack Wilson to prevent a potentially huge fourth inning for the Red Sox.
But the crowd of 43,777 saw a different-looking Furbush than the one that struggled with command from the get-go his last time out in Texas and seemed to run out of gas midway through. Furbush said it was a matter of getting ahead early in the count with his fastball, which enabled him to keep the Red Sox off-balance with his slider.
“That was one of those things I wanted to focus on,” he said. “Establishing my fastball early in the count. It makes things easier when you throw more strikes.”
Furbush was spotted a 3-0 lead when the Mariners scored three times off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the third. Wells walked, stole second, took third on a throwing error, then scored on a Wilson infield hit.
Later, with the bases loaded, Franklin Gutierrez drove in another run on a sacrifice fly, and Mike Carp singled to score one more and extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Boston got a run back in the fourth, but Dustin Ackley drove in a run with a single in the fifth.
Wells then took Wakefield over the left-field wall in the sixth inning to make it 5-1. The blast was big, giving the Mariners breathing room especially when Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer off reliever Jeff Gray in the eighth.
It was the third home run for Wells since being acquired by the Mariners. He has now gone deep in three of his past four games at Safeco Field.
Wells saw quite a bit of Furbush while with the Tigers and said the guy on the mound Sunday was what he has seen before.
“He locates his fastball in and out and has a nasty slider, especially against lefties,” Wells said. “He seemed like he was keeping them off-balance, coming in, going away and keeping the ball down in the zone. That’s what you’ve got to do against a team like this. Or against any good offensive team.”
Furbush was making his third start for Seattle after pitching in relief for the Tigers before the trade.
He had his only real trouble in the fourth, an inning that began with Wilson diving to his left to snare a line drive by Dustin Pedroia. That was huge because the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out on singles by Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz and a walk to Youkilis.
But Furbush got a fly out to left by Jed Lowrie — which scored Boston’s first run — and then a pop out by left-handed-hitting Carl Crawford to end the threat.
“I thought Furbush was very good today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He did a great job of repeating his delivery. And because of that he was really consistent with his fastball. He was able to move it around, hit his spots, did a good job with his breaking ball … and was very poised with good tempo. There was a lot to like out there.”
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org