Lefty Joe Saunders endured another grim road outing Tuesday, giving up early home runs to Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury in what became an 8-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Mariners had won 10 of their previous 13, 15 of 23 and seven of their past nine road contests, but Saunders could not solve Boston’s bats, nor did Seattle hitters have any luck against Red Sox rookie starter Brandon Workman.
The Mariners (50-56), looking for their first 16-win month since May, 2007, and their first 16-win July since 2000, took a 1-0 lead, but crumbled under a five-run onslaught in the first and second innings. They could not recover against Workman, who fanned nine and walked one in his 6.0 innings of work, improving to 1-1, 3.54.
The Mariners are 4-9 at Fenway Park over the past three seasons.
Ellsbury homered on a 2-and-1 count in the second and Pedroia came back a batter later with a two-run blast, giving Boston all the runs it needed. The Red Sox defeated Seattle four times in five meetings this season, including three of four at Safeco Field earlier this month.
After Boston scored a single run in the fourth, both offenses went into hibernation until the eighth when Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia ripped a two-run homer off reliever Brandon Maurer. Boston had 12 hits to Seattle’s seven, Shane Victorino going 3-for-4 and Pedroia 2-for-4.
In the first inning, Kendrys Morales drove in Nick Franklin, who had doubled, for a 1-0 Mariners lead. But the Red Sox retaliated with two off Saunders when Victorino scored on a passed ball and David Ortiz singled, scoring Pedroia.
Boston added three runs in the second Ellsbury’s solo homer and Pedroia’s two-run shot. Boston made it 6-1 in the fourth on Pedroia’s RBI single, scoring Victorino.
Saunders (9-10) exited after five, having allowed five earned runs on nine hits with five strikeouts, two walks and two long balls surrendered. His ERA jumped to 4.65.
The Mariners added one run in the ninth when catcher Henry Blanco delivered a run-scoring single, scoring Justin Smoak.
The series goes on Wednesday with a 4:10, PT start featuring RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-4, 2.87), working on a three-game winning streak, pitching for Seattle against RHP John Lackey (7-8, 3.19), whom the Mariners have not seen since 2011.
NOTES: Kyle Seager is second in the major leagues in July batting average with a .397 mark (35-for-88) . . . The Mariners have a 5-1-1 series record since July 1, their only loss to the Red Sox . . . Nick Franklin’s multi-homer game Sunday against Minnesota was his second of the year (also May 30 at San Diego). According to Elias, Franklin and Michael Young (2001 Rangers) are the only second basemen in the last 48 years to have a pair of multi-homer games in their rookie season. Before Young, the last to do it was was Joe Morgan for Houston in 1965 . . . Following the Boston series, the Mariners will play three at Camden Yards in Baltimore before returning to Safeco Field Aug. 5 for a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays.