BOSTON – A new look. A different pregame attitude. Same result.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was trying to keep things relaxed about an hour before the game, walking around and joking with some of his players and coaches.
He even went as far as shaving off his mustache following Saturday night’s loss.
It didn’t help. Seattle set a franchise record with its 15th straight loss, falling 12-8 to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
“This is definitely frustrating,” said Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan, who hit a grand slam and drove in five runs. “There aren’t too many laughs now. There shouldn’t be. We battled today. We just couldn’t make up enough ground.
“Once again I don’t know what to say. It seems like once again it’s Groundhog Day – a lot of things have been going right and wrong. Pretty unbelievable.”
Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in four runs and Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer for the Red Sox.
The Mariners jumped ahead 2-0 in the first on Miguel Olivo’s two-run homer, but Boston answered with five runs against Michael Pineda (8-7) in the bottom of the inning.
“It’s frustrating, sure, but we’ve got a lot of baseball to play,” Wedge said. “We’re trying to get guys going in the right direction, but we’ve got to put it all together to get a win against the teams we’re playing now.”
The loss broke Seattle’s record for its longest losing streak, set in 1992. It is the longest in the majors since Kansas City lost 19 in a row in 2005.
Unlike during much of the streak, the Mariners actually put up solid offensive numbers, but the bullpen gave up five runs after Pineda was tagged for seven in 4 1/3 innings.
“I don’t know what happened,” Pineda said of the first inning.
“Obviously something was going on with Pineda,” Ryan said. “Guys usually aren’t teeing off on him. They obviously saw something.”
Seattle had been held to three or fewer runs 10 times – including the initial nine games – during the losing stretch.
Tim Wakefield (6-3) moved one win from his 200th victory. But the 44-year-old knuckleballer left after giving up Ryan’s grand slam that cut the lead to 11-7 with one out in the seventh.
Boston’s powerhouse lineup had 17 hits, with Saltalamacchia, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford getting three each.
Baseball’s best-hitting team scored at least 11 runs for the fourth time in Wakefield’s last eight starts. The Red Sox swept the three-game series with their 17th win in 20 games.
Wakefield struggled in the first, giving up the homer to Olivo, his 14th of the season. But the Red Sox took the lead after sending just four batters to the plate.
Jacoby Ellsbury started with a walk and scored on a single by Gonzalez before Youkilis hit his 14th homer for a 3-2 lead. David Ortiz then singled and Crawford doubled, putting runners at second and third. Saltalamacchia then lined a two-run single to right.
Wakefield allowed just one hit through the next three innings. But in the fifth Ryan doubled home Ichiro Suzuki, who had singled. Again, the Red Sox responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning.
They loaded the bases on a single by Gonzalez, a walk to Youkilis and an infield single by Ortiz. Crawford followed with a hard, two-run single just inside the third-base line, Josh Reddick doubled in a run and Saltalamacchia singled in two more.
Wakefield gave up up four straight hits in the seventh – singles by Jack Cust, Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro, and Ryan’s second career grand slam and second homer of the year.
Boston’s last two runs scored on RBI singles by Gonzalez in the sixth and Ellsbury in the seventh.
Seattle homered for the season-best sixth straight game. … Pineda has allowed five runs or more in four of his last five starts. … “I was thinking about it for two days and before I went to bed (Saturday) night I did it,” Wedge said of his decision to shave. “My wife approved.” … Mariners reliever Aaron Laffey gave up three runs and four hits without getting an out.
E—Ryan (9). LOB—Seattle 5, Boston 7. 2B—Ryan (15), Ackley 2 (7), Smoak (21), Ellsbury (27), Pedroia (24), C.Crawford (13), Reddick (7). HR—Olivo (14), Ryan (2), Youkilis (14). RBIs—Ryan 5 (32), Ackley (15), Olivo 2 (46), Ellsbury (58), Ad.Gonzalez 2 (82), Youkilis 2 (72), C.Crawford 2 (35), Reddick (19), Saltalamacchia 4 (31). CS—I.Suzuki (5), C.Crawford (5). RLISP—Seattle 3, Boston 2. RMU—I.Suzuki.
IR-S—Laffey 2-2, J.Wright 1-0. HBP—Ryan. WP—Pineda. T—3:01. A—37,650 (37,065).
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