BOSTON – This beginning of the post-trade-deadline era for the Mariners proved just as competitive as many of the contests leading up to it.
A big reason the Mariners avoided breaking up their team by dealing off veterans was a desire to keep intact a competitive squad that had recently started winning more than it loses. And though the Mariners ultimately did lose Wednesday night, 5-4 to the Boston Red Sox in 15 innings, they made their opponents fight every inch of the way.
Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk in the 15th against Lucas Luetge and took second on a ground out. Luetge then walked Mike Napoli intentionally, struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia, then walked Jonny Gomes to load the bases.
Stephen Drew then drove a pitch by a tiring Luetge – in his third inning of work, into the right-field corner to win it.
What remained of the crowd of 35,059 at Fenway Park erupted in frenzied cheers as Pedroia crossed the plate to end the 5-hour, 3-minute affair.
The Red Sox could have won it in the 14th when Brandon Snyder attempted to tag up and score on a fly to center. But he was nabbed at the plate by a bullet throw from Michael Saunders to keep the game going.
Kendrys Morales helped justify the team’s decision not to deal him away by logging four hits. Raul Ibanez, another rumored trade candidate, drove in a go-ahead run early on with a single.
And a young bullpen that stepped in with the game tied in the eighth inning simply refused to yield.
But in the end, the Mariners could not come up with a big hit despite several chances to retake the lead after regulation play.
Their best shot came in the 15th, when, with two on and one out, Saunders hit a sinking liner to left that looked like it would fall in. But newly-inserted Gomes made a diving catch and, since Ibanez had been waved around third by that point, was able to race all the way in to second himself and step on the bag to complete the double play.
Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma didn’t allow an earned run over his 5 2/3 innings.
M’s deal Andino
The Mariners traded minor-league infielder Robert Andino to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to named or cash.