July 26, 2010 in Sports

Saunders helps M’s split with Red Sox

Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – Michael Saunders lined a two-run single off Boston reliever Hideki Okajima in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Seattle the lead, Milton Bradley’s squeeze bunt added another run, and the Mariners rallied for a 4-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday.

The Mariners’ unlikely rally salvaged a split of the four-game series and sent Boston into the final stage of its 10-game West Coast trip now eight games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East.

It was the second straight day Saunders came up with a game-changing hit. A night earlier, Saunders broke up Jon Lester’s no-hit bid with a two-run homer in the sixth inning of Seattle’s 5-1 victory. The young left-fielder is hitting .309 over his last 19 games.

Seattle’s rally ruined a strong effort by Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who struggled with major control problems early before settling down to be in line for his third straight win.

Matsuzaka was wild early, at one point in the third inning already over 60 pitches and with an equal number of strikes and balls. But the Japanese righty settled down and retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.

But his high pitch count early forced Matsuzaka out after six innings and Seattle took advantage of Boston’s bullpen. Matsuzaka allowed just one run and four hits, but was hampered by five walks.

Chris Seddon worked 22/3 perfect innings of relief for Seattle, but it was Brandon League (8-6) getting the win after he struck out Kevin Youkilis for the final out of the eighth inning. David Aardsma pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 22 chances.

Mariners 4, Red Sox 2

Scutaro ss 400001.273
J.Drew rf 412001.269
D.Ortiz dh 311012.253
Youkilis 1b 402101.307
A.Beltre 3b 401100.332
Hermida lf 400000.219
Cameron cf 400002.273
Hall 2b 300001.228
Brown c 301000.182
Totals 3327218
I.Suzuki rf 500001.308
Figgins 2b 312021.232
F.Gutierrez cf 300012.249
Jo.Lopez 3b 412100.236
Smoak dh 411000.203
Kotchman 1b 313010.225
M.Saunders lf 301210.240
Ro.Johnson c 300001.193
Bradley ph 101100.207
J.Bard c 000000.179
Ja.Wilson ss 401001.255
Totals 33411456
Boston 000200000—270
Seattle 00100003x—4110

LOB—Boston 5, Seattle 10. 2B—Youkilis (25), Figgins (13). RBIs—Youkilis (61), A.Beltre (63), Jo.Lopez (42), M.Saunders 2 (25), Bradley (29). SB—Figgins (26), F.Gutierrez (14). RLISP—Boston 2 (Hall, Youkilis); Seattle 7 (Jo.Lopez, Ja.Wilson, M.Saunders 2, Smoak, Figgins 2). GIDP—A.Beltre, I.Suzuki. DP—Boston 1 (Youkilis, Brown); Seattle 1 (Jo.Lopez, Figgins, Kotchman).

Matsuzaka 6411541104.09
D.Bard H, 22 121101181.86
Okajima L, 3-3 BS, 4-4 2/352200155.81
R.Ramirez 1/30000154.69
Fister 572213913.56
Seddon 22/300003331.08
League W, 8-6 1/300001123.51
Aardsma S, 18-22 100001174.73

IR-S—Okajima 1-1, R.Ramirez 2-0. WP—Matsuzaka. T—3:01. A—40,001 (47,878).

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