Hisashi Iwakuma dominated from the start, rookie Edwin Diaz closed with his second save, and the Mariners had solo home runs from Nelson Cruz, Mike Zunino and Adam Lind to deliver a 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox Wednesday night at Safeco Field (box). Seattle (54-52) had just four hits but three counted for the maximum.
In a game that featured homers on each of Seattle’s first three hits, the Cruz homer left the most visible mark. He led off the second inning by jacking a 1-1 pitch 441 feet into left field.
Diaz was at it again, using a 99-mile-an-hour fastball to strike out David Ortiz to open the ninth before doing a Steve Cishek semi-impression with a hit batter and wild pitch to make things interesting.
After a single, HBP and wild pitch, Diaz allowed a run to score on a groundout. He escaped with his second career save, coming on back-to-back nights after Cishek lost the closer’s job.
Iwakuma tossed 7.1 scoreless innings, allowing five hits while striking out seven to bounce back from his shortest outing of the season.
Zunino continues to make a case for more playing time, going 2-for-3 while hitting his fifth home run of the season – in 35 at-bats. Cruz hit No. 27, while Lind added a seventh-inning shot for a 3-0 lead. The only non-homer was a Zunino single in the eighth.
“I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” – Injured Red Sox 1B Hanley Ramirez to reporters after the game, making a joking reference to retired Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch before laughing and answering their questions
The weekend series against the Angels could bring the return of two starting pitchers. Former University of Washington star Tim Lincecum is scheduled to start Friday for Anaheim, the first time since June 2012 that he’s pitched in Seattle. Saturday, the Mariners are expected to welcome back starter Taijuan Walker, who has been on the disabled list since July 6 because of foot tendonitis . . . The Red Sox were without 1B Hanley Ramirez, who hurt his wrist in the dugout late Tuesday night and probably won’t play again this series, and 2B Dustin Pedroia, who got a rare day off after playing in 63 consecutive games . . . Barring an unforeseen comeback, or an even less likely Red Sox-Mariners postseason series, Thursday will mark the final Safeco Field appearance by Boston DH David Ortiz. Judging by his career .289 batting average there, Seattle fans won’t be too sad to see him go. The Mariners honored Ortiz before Wednesday’s game. Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano and Cruz came out of the dugout with oversized glasses and clock necklaces to present the 40-year-old star with a painting . . . Seattle LF Seth Smith entered Wednesday’s game with a career batting average of .563 against Boston starter Rick Porcello.
The Mariners at 7:10 p.m. Thursday get their first look at the return from the Wade Miley trade when LHP Ariel Miranda makes his debut. Miranda (0-0, 13.50 ERA) will be making the first start of his major league career but won’t be making his MLB debut – or even his debut at Safeco Field. The 27-year-old Cuban pitched here July 3, when he threw two innings of relief, allowing three runs off four hits in his only game with the Orioles. Boston will send newly acquired lefty Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 7.53 ERA) to the mound in the final of the four-game series.