SEATTLE – Not a bad afternoon for the Seattle Mariners as far as their returns in the Doug Fister trade went.
The Mariners got seven strong innings out of left-handed starter Charlie Furbush on Sunday coupled with a key home run off the bat of Casper Wells.
It added up to a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox and a rare series victory for the Mariners against an American League team other than the Oakland Athletics.
In fact, the last time the Mariners won a series against an A.L. squad other than Oakland was in the first week of June. They had gone 2-9-1 in series against A.L. squads before taking this one, while turning over a fair degree of the 25-man major league roster in the process.
“Definitely, being here for a few weeks now, it’s been pretty comfortable getting to know the guys and everything around here,” said Furbush, acquired from Detroit along with Wells for Fister and David Pauley on July 30. “I’ve had a blast. It’s definitely not a bad thing to get traded.”
Not when you can hold a high-powered team like the Red Sox to a run on four hits over seven innings while striking out six batters the way Furbush did. Boston hadn’t lost a series since late June and had posted seven consecutive winning trips.
The crowd of 43,777 saw a different-looking Furbush than the one who struggled with command from the get-go his last time out in Texas and seemed to run out of gas midway through. Furbush said it was a matter of getting ahead early in the count with his fastball, which enabled him to keep the Red Sox off-balance with his slider.
Furbush was spotted a 3-0 lead when the Mariners scored three times off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the third. Wells walked, stole second, took third on a throwing error, then scored on a Jack Wilson infield hit.
Later, with the bases loaded, Franklin Gutierrez drove in another run on a sacrifice fly and Mike Carp singled to score one more and extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Boston got a run back in the fourth, but Dustin Ackley drove in a run with a single in the fifth.
Wells then took Wakefield over the left-field wall in the sixth inning to make it 5-1. The blast gave the Mariners breathing room, especially when Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer off reliever Jeff Gray in the eighth.
Around the majors
Albert Pujols’ National League-leading 29th home run in the first inning Sunday night was also the longest at six-year-old Busch Stadium. Pujols’ two-run shot off Esmil Rogers off the Rockies cleared the bleachers beyond the visitor’s bullpen in left field and was estimated at 465 feet. It bettered Lance Berkman’s 452-foot homer to right off the Reds’ Edinson Volquez on July 5. …. Giants left-hander Barry Zito sprained his right ankle during a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Fresno and will be sidelined indefinitely. … The Braves placed right-hander Tommy Hanson on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 7, with right shoulder tendinitis and activated catcher Brian McCann from the disabled list. … The Tigers placed second baseman Carlos Guillen on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left wrist. To fill his roster spot, the Tigers recalled second baseman Will Rhymes from Triple-A.
• M’s boxscore /B4