BOSTON – This time they didn’t wait until their final out to mount a rally. This time the Mariners dispensed with the drama early.
After falling behind 3-0 for the second straight day, Seattle exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning against Boston starter Brandon Workman, turning a three-run deficit into a 7-3 win Saturday at Fenway Park.
It was the Mariners’ second straight win and ninth in their last 12 games. They improved to 70-58. Last year, they won 71 games total. Seattle will go for a series sweep Sunday with Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound.
“I don’t care how we get them just as long as we get them,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said.
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It was clear from Workman’s first pitch that he wasn’t fooling Mariners hitters. Over the first three innings, they got hits, drew walks and hit balls hard, but had nothing to show for it other than a 3-0 deficit.
But they knew the runs would come.
“I don’t think anybody here was really panicking anymore,” Ackley said. “We know what we are capable of doing. After that first time through, everyone was like, ‘OK, now we are going to get him.’ And we did.”
That eventual outburst came in the fourth inning, when Seattle pounded out seven hits and batted around. After back-to-back singles from Kendrys Morales and Kyle Seager to start the inning, Chris Denorfia doubled to left field to drive in the Mariners’ first run. Workman came back to strike out Endy Chavez, but he never recorded the second out of the inning. Chris Taylor singled home Seager to make it 3-2. Denorfia tied the score when he sprinted home on a wild pitch. Backup catcher Jesus Sucre, who isn’t known for his hitting prowess, gave the Mariners a 4-3 lead with an RBI single to left. It was Sucre’s second hit of the game.
“It’s not easy to come up to the plate because I don’t really play too much,” Sucre said. “I’ve been working in the cage with (Andy) Van Slyke, Hojo (Howard Johnson) and Robbie Cano. Those guys have really helped me. I’ve felt a little better at the plate.”
Dustin Ackley put the capper on the inning, yanking a 1-2 fastball down line just inside the foul pole for a three-run homer to make it 7-4. Red Sox manager John Farrell then finally lifted Workman. Reliever Alex Wilson came in to get the final two outs of the fourth inning.
Ackley credited his 12-pitch walk against Workman in the first inning as a precursor for the home run.
“That first at-bat was huge to see everything,” Ackley said. “He threw everything he had at me. That was a good gauge for the rest of my at-bats.”
And the homer?
“It was just a fastball up and in,” he said. “He threw me a curveball the pitch before and got me to swing and miss. I think he was trying to elevate and get under my hands. I think he missed a little bit down and I was able to keep it fair.”
And that was all the offense the Mariners would muster in the game. Seattle had only one runner reach base after the fourth inning and that was when Robinson Cano was hit in the backside by a pitch in the seventh inning by Wilson in retaliation for Charlie Furbush hitting Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz in the left elbow with a fastball in the sixth inning.
The offensive outburst in the fourth overcame a shaky outing from normally steady starter Chris Young. The veteran right-hander struggled with his command, lasting just 32/3 innings on 93 pitches, giving up three runs on seven hits and a season-high five walks with two strikeouts.
“I was fighting myself the whole time,” Young said. “Rhythm, timing, tempo. I had no feel for it. I kept thinking I’d find it.”
Young couldn’t get out of the fourth inning. After getting two quick outs on strikeouts, he gave up a single to Dustin Pedroia and then walked Ortiz and Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases. McClendon had seen enough and called on Tom Wilhelmsen to face Mike Napoli and bail the Mariners out of trouble.
“Chris didn’t have his stuff today,” McClendon said. “It happens. It hasn’t happened often for him this year.”
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