Nearly 13 hours removed from one of the more impressive come-from-behind wins in club history, the Mariners might have had a carryover Saturday at Fenway Park — or a hangover. Turned out well for them, as another explosive inning led to a 7-3 win over the reeling Boston Red Sox.
Seattle (70-58) again spotted the Red Sox a 3-0 lead as Chris Young had his roughest outing of the season. But this time the M’s saved their fans the heart arrhythmia by answering in the fourth inning.
The Mariners hitters cashed in against Boston starter Brandon Workman (1-8, 4.93 ERA) with seven hits in the first eight batters to score all seven runs. Over the first three innings, the M’s came up empty despite long at-bats that raised Workman’s pitch count to 52.
Kendrys Morales began a string of three straight hits off Workman with a sharp single to right. After Kyle Seager reached on an infield single, Chris Denorfia cut the Red Sox lead to 3-1 with a double to left. A strikeout, an RBI single by Chris Taylor and a wild pitch later, matters were tied at with one out.
In his second start in three games, reserve catcher Jesus Sucre put Seattle ahead to stay with a single to left, scoring Taylor, his second hit of the game and fourth in his last five at-bats. Two batters later, Dustin Ackley capped the inning with a three-run homer just inside the Pesky Pole in right.
Workman’s work was mercifully ended after 3.1 innings and 10 hits. The big inning was critical for the M’s amid the struggles of their own starter.
Young entered Saturday’s game off an impressive performance Sunday against the Tigers in which he held their vaunted offense scoreless on four hits in six innings. With the win, Young improved to 12-6 with a 3.07 ERA, all career bests for a pitcher who last threw more than 140 innings in 2007.
Whether the workload is starting to affect Young is not clear. What is clear is the Red Sox had their way with the veteran right-hander. Dustin Pedroia led the attack with three of the seven hits. Boston also worked five walks against Young as he struggled to find the strike zone.
Young managed to keep the ball in the yard, limiting the Red Sox to single tallies in each of the first three innings. He stranded five baserunners and left after 3.2 innings with the bases loaded in a 7-3 game.
McClendon called upon Tom Wilhelmsen to quell the threat against Mike Napoli. Wilhelmsen did his job, striking out Napoli to maintain a four-run Seattle advantage. His work began a stretch of 5.1 scoreless innings by the dominant Mariners bullpen as the late-afternoon shadows played havoc on the hitters for each side.
Seattle’s offense already did its work for the 14th in win in the past 19 games. The win also pushed Seattle 1.5 games in front of the Tigers in the race for the American League’s second wild card.
Since July 1, Ackley is hitting .308 (50-for-162) with five home runs and 26 RBI in 41 games . . . Seattle’s ninth-inning comeback was its largest such comeback win since May 30, 2009 when Jose Lopez homered with two outs in the ninth, leading to an eventual extra-innings win over the Angels.