The Mariners rallied from a 4-0 deficit, getting to Boston starter David Price in the eighth inning on the way to an improbable 5-4 win over the Red Sox (box) Tuesday night at Safeco Field. After 2B Robinson Cano gave Seattle its first lead with a three-run, go-ahead homer in the bottom of the eighth, new closer Edwin Diaz finished it off. The Mariners (53-52) avoided falling under .500 for the first time since June 23.
Cano’s three-run blast was the biggest moment, but the long-term impact of Diaz striking out three of the four batters he faced during a relatively clean ninth is tantalizing. Diaz struck out touted Boston prospect Andrew Benintendi on a 99-mile-per-hour fastball to end the game.
Diaz walked one and struck out three as the Mariners turned the page on the Steve Cishek era. Starter Wade LeBlanc, making his first appearance since July 23 and his first start since July 18, was pretty good in his return. LeBlanc allowed three runs off five hits over six innings. Donn Roach (2-0), called up from Tacoma Monday, earned the win with two innings of work in relief.
It took eight innings for the Mariners to get on the scoreboard, but they came up huge. Four consecutive hits off Price, who had given up three hits to that point, opened the door. C Mike Zunino and Cano both homered. Seattle had five of its eight hits in the inning.
LF Guillermo Heredia picked a good time for his first career hit. His RBI single in the eighth cut the deficit to 4-2 and extended the rally that led to Cano’s game-winning homer. Heredia had been 0-for-9 before singling over Boston 1B Hanley Ramirez.
“David Price is very much in command of his game. He was throwing all four pitches for strikes. Zunino leads off with a first pitch breaking ball and hits it out of the ballpark. They did a good job of staying inside a number of pitches and they strung together four consecutive hits. As quick as that was going, we wanted to go to the bullpen and we were in pretty good shape. Barnes gets the first key out against Smith. Abad, who’s had such good success against Cano. is working through the at bat in good shape. He gets him to chase a couple of breaking balls. He missed with one over the plate.” — Boston manager John Farrell
“It’s the same thing. A little bit more pressure, but it’s the same thing (as pitching in) the
seventh and eighth. Nothing different.” – Diaz, on his first outing as closer
Manager Scott Servais said before the game that Diaz will assume closing duties while Cishek works through his struggles. Cishek blew his sixth save Sunday night, then he gave up the game-winning homer in a non-save situation Monday. … LHP Ariel Miranda, acquired in the Wade Miley trade over the weekend, looks in line to start Thursday against the Red Sox. Currently in Tacoma, Miranda has pitched one major-league game, throwing two innings of relief at Safeco Field as a spot call-up for the Orioles two weeks ago.
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (11-7) hopes to bounce back from his shortest outing of the season when the Mariners play the third of four games against the Red Sox at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday. Boston counters with red-hot RHP Rick Porcello (14-2, 3.47 ERA), who has won six consecutive starts.