Ryan Demspster just didn't have it this afternoon, but as usual, another Red Sox player picked him up. David Ortiz? No. Dustin Pedroia? Not tonight. Knuckleballer Steven Wright came on as a long reliever and kept Seattle from scoring. His efforts helped Boston take the four game series in the middle of their west coast trip. Here are the four at bats that changed the game:
1) Get on that Board First. Boston loves scoring early. When Jacoby Ellsbury came up to bat to start the game, no one figured the Sox would get on the board that quickly. Ellsbury swung at Ramirez's third pitch and drove it over the fence in right field to put the Red Sox up 1-0.
2) Errors always come back to hurt you. While Ryan Dempster cruised in the first inning, he labored through 40 pitches in the second inning. But it should have been a lot less. Kyle Seager started off the inning with a solo shot to right field to tie the game, then Mike Zunino singled in between two outs. Brendan Ryan hit a grounder to third baseman Brock Holt for a sure third out, but he booted the ball to keep the inning going. Brad Miller used the breath of life to crush a run scoring double, and then Endy Chavez added to the lead with a 2 RBI single up the middle. When it was all over, Dempster threw 18 more pitches than he had to, and he and the Sox trailed 4-1.
3) Walks hurt. In the top of the fourth inning, The Red Sox were given two runners without the benefit of a hit. David Ortiz worked a five pitch walk and Mike Carp was hit by a pitch put put men at first and second. With two men out, the Red Sox scratched out three runs when Brock Holt, Jose Iglesias and Jacoby Ellsbury hit consecutive singles to right field to bring to game a bit closer. 5-4 Mariners.
4) Yep, walks really hurt. While the Sox and Mariners went back and forth until the fifth inning, all bats went silent until the tenth inning. Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright pitched 5 2/3 innings and only gave up three hits to save the bullpen and keep the game tied. Charlie Furbush and Oliver Perez combined for four scoreless innings to keep Boston off of the board. In the tenth inning, Ryan Lavarnway stepped up to face closer Tom Wilhelmsen. Lavarnway put together an impressive at bat, fouling off five pitches before he earned a ten pitch walk. Jackie Bradley came on to pinch run and was bunted to second. Daniel Nava, who was having a rough day at the plate all game, hit a slow roller that found a hole between second and third. The hit easily scored Bradley and gave the Red Sox a 8-7 lead.
Koji Uehara came on in the tenth inning and struck out two for the save. The Red Sox were pushed hard in this series and had to fight their way through some hard victories, but in the end they took three out of four, scoring 34 runs in the four games. The 57-37 Red Sox travel to Oakland tomorrow to face Jarrod Parker at 10:10pm EST. John Lackey looks to continue his hot streak of late and keep the Sox in first place in the AL East.