Mariners fall to Red Sox in extra innings
Thu., Aug. 4, 2016
SEATTLE – The luck of the Irish, as history shows, isn’t always good luck.
Shawn O’Malley hit his first homer of the season Thursday on Irish Heritage Night at Safeco Field, but it was his inability to handle a ground ball cleanly that proved decisive in a 3-2 loss to Boston in 11 innings.
Let’s set the stage.
Travis Shaw, who homered in the second inning, started the Red Sox’s 11th by beating an overshifted infield for a single to left against Cody Martin (Gonzaga University), the sixth Mariners pitcher.
Shaw moved to second on Sandy Leon’s sacrifice bunt.
Brock Holt then grounded a single up the middle that ticked off O’Malley’s glove as he made a diving attempt. The ball caromed into center field and permitted Shaw to score.
O’Malley slammed his glove in frustration.
It wasn’t a routine play, and had O’Malley fielded the ball cleanly, it’s unlikely he would have had a play at first. But Shaw probably has to hold at third doesn’t score.
That was the difference.
The Mariners got the tying run to third base later in the inning against Brad Ziegler but no farther. They settled for a split in their four-game series against the Red Sox.
The Mariners had a chance in the ninth inning after O’Malley served a one-out single into center field against reliever Fernando Abad.
Guillermo Heredia popped out, but Franklin Gutierrez fought back from a 1-2 hole for a walk. That got the game to Robinson Cano.
Two nights earlier, Cano capped a five-run eighth inning with a three-run homer against Abad.
This time, Boston manager John Farrell ignored the left-on-left matchup, and Abad’s previous dominance against Cano – 1 for 11 prior to the homer – by summoning closer Craig Kimbrel.
The strategy worked. Cano grounded out to second.
Kimbrel (2-3) got the victory by pitching 1 1/3 innings. Ziegler collected his third Boston save to go along with 18 he accumulated at Arizona prior to last month’s trade. Martin (1-2) was the loser.
Lefty Ariel Miranda, acquired Sunday from Baltimore, allowed two runs over six innings in his first major-league start. He struck out five and walked one in an 80-pitch outing before handing a 2-2 game to Drew Storen.
Boston starter Drew Pomeranz also gave up two runs in six innings. He permitted just four hits, but three came in a two-run fifth inning. He also walked six.
Miranda started the game by retiring Mookie Betts on a foul pop before Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz delivered singles.
The two were a combined 1 for 22 in the first three games.
A walk to Dustin Pedroia loaded the bases, but Miranda struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. and retired Aaron Hill on a fly to right.
Miranda then started the second inning by surrendering a no-doubt homer to Shaw on a 2-0 fastball. Shaw’s 386-foot drive to right was his 13th homer of the season.
The Mariners loaded the bases in the fourth inning on three walks by Pomeranz – two with one out, and one with two outs – but Leonys Martin grounded out to first.
Boston extended its lead to 2-0 in the fifth when Bryce Brentz led off with a line-hugging double past first base and scored on Betts’ double into the right-center gap.
The Mariners answered with two runs later in the inning.
O’Malley opened the bottom of the inning with a 409-foot drive to left for his first homer of the season.
Heredia followed with a bunt single and moved to third on ground outs by Gutierrez and Cano.
The Red Sox opted for an intentional walk to Nelson Cruz, but Dae-Ho Lee flicked a single to right. Tie game.
Lee helped keep the game tied in the sixth inning by making a (sort of) leaping catch on Shaw’s line drive with a runner on first base and turning it into a double play.
Play of the game: Left fielder Guillermo Heredia ran down Xander Bogaerts’ drive on track for the first out in the fifth inning with a runner at second and one run already in. Heredia’s momentum carried him onto the wall, but he held onto the ball.
Stat pack: Seattle became the first American League team to start a Cuban-born pitcher (Ariel Miranda) and two Cuban-born position players (left fielder Guillermo Heredia and center fielder Leonys Martin) in the same game since Minnesota on Sept. 27, 1970. The Twins’ players were pitcher Luis Tiant, shortstop Chico Cardenas and center fielder Tony Oliva. (Oliva played mostly right field in his 15-year career, but he was in center for that game.)
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