Down to their final strike, the Seattle Mariners put a dramatic end to more than three years of futility at Fenway Park.
Austin Jackson hit a bases-loaded double with two outs in the ninth inning and Dustin Ackley followed with a two-run, bloop single as the Mariners rallied to score five times and beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 on Friday night.
"The first three hours of that game we didn’t look very good," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Then all of a sudden, with two outs, we turned it on. I can’t figure it out."
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara (5-4) held a 3-0 lead with two outs and a runner on first before the Mariners broke loose. Seattle ended a nine-game losing streak at Fenway that began in May 2011.
The Mariners had managed only two hits through the first eight innings, then recorded five against Uehara in the ninth and extended Boston’s losing streak to six.
Dominic Leone (6-2) pitched one inning of relief for the victory and Fernando Rodney notched his 37th save.
A night after being held to one hit in a 2-0 loss to the Angels, the Red Sox chased Seattle ace Felix Hernandez in the sixth inning after Yoenis Cespedes’ three-run homer.
Hernandez was in line for the loss before the ninth-inning rally, which he said he watched from the clubhouse.
"I didn’t even move. I did not move because I did not want to change anything," Hernandez said. "It’s huge for us, man. We needed this one."
Boston starter Joe Kelly limited Seattle to one hit in five solid innings and three relievers preserved the shutout until Uehara’s collapse in the ninth.
Uehara had an 0-2 count on Jackson, who drove the next pitch down the line in left to cut the lead to 3-2. Ackley was next and hit a blooper to shallow left just out of shortstop Brock Holt’s reach as he made a diving attempt.
"I thought I was pretty close. He hit it kind of far up there. I was hoping I could get to it and end the game. Unfortunately it fell," Holt said.
Hernandez pitched for the first time since his record streak of 16 consecutive starts of seven or more innings while allowing two runs or fewer ended Saturday in a loss at Detroit. Hernandez needed three strikeouts for his sixth straight season with 200 or more and finished with seven over 5 2/3 innings. He also gave up five hits, including two in the costly sixth inning.
BIG PAPI RETURNS
Boston DH David Ortiz returned to the lineup after resting Thursday and had a single and a double in his first two at-bats. After Daniel Nava led off the sixth with a double and went to third on a fielder’s choice, the Mariners weren’t taking chances on Big Papi." Seattle walked Ortiz intentionally to face Cespedes and the move backfired when Cespedes hit a towering shot to left, clearing the Green Monster entirely and giving Boston a 3-0 lead. Cespedes fouled off three straight pitches before breaking the scoreless tie with his 20th homer of the season, the fourth since being traded to the Red Sox.
Seattle temporarily held a 1-0 in the fourth before Boston challenged a call successfully and took the run off the board. Kendrys Morales hit a sinking flyball that center fielder Mookie Betts reached with a full-speed dive that was initially ruled a hit. Betts was so certain he caught the ball for the third out that he wasn’t paying attention to Ackley rounding third, then made a wild throw toward home that sailed to the backstop. Boston still had its challenge and the call was overturned after a quick review confirmed Betts made the catch.
With the comeback, the Mariners avoided losing consecutive games for the first time since a four-game skid July 22-25.
Mariners: CF Michael Saunders’ rehab assignment as he gets over an oblique strain has been temporarily interrupted by flu-like symptoms. "He will not play for two or three days," McClendon said. "He’s been dehydrated." It is the second rehab interruption for Saunders, who was out on paternity leave last month.
Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was hit in the head by a pitch in the fifth and left the game between innings to be evaluated for a concussion. … 1B Mike Napoli missed his third game in a row with back spasms. Manager John Farrell said Napoli could return to the lineup on Saturday.
Mariners: RHP Chris Young (12-6, 3.07 ERA) returns to the mound after pitching six scoreless innings in his last start, when Seattle beat Detroit 8-1.
Red Sox: RHP Brandon Workman (1-7, 4.26 ERA) tries to end a slide of losses in six consecutive starts. Workman allowed just two runs on six hits in seven innings on Monday, but didn’t get much run support and the Red Sox lost to the Angels 4-2.