Following a tight series opening win against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night, the Red Sox were right back at it in another close game against the M’s on Friday. This time though, they did not come out on top.
Making his 15th start of the season last night, Rick Porcello was certainly not the problem in this one. In a total of six innings pitched, the righty surrendered four runs on seven hits and one walk while tying his season-high in strikeouts with nine on the night.
Things certainly could have gone worse for the New Jersey native and that’s how it was looking when he gave up a solo home run to the second batter he faced in Jean Segura in the first inning. The Mariners tacked on another two runs in their half of the second, but Porcello bounced back after that.
From the middle of the third until the conclusion of the sixth, the 29-year-old hurler held Seattle to just one run on three hits and that one walk, which all happened in the bottom half of the fifth.
Going into the sixth inning with a pitch count of 92, I thought for sure that Porcello’s night had come to an end. Instead, he showed another encouraging sign by retiring the Mariners 6-7-8 hitters in order on only eight pitches to retire the side.
Finishing with exactly 100 pitches (70 strikes), Porcello relied mostly on his two-seam fastball last night, as he threw it 31% of the time, compared to just 19% on his four-seamer. Out of those 19 pitches, the righty topped out at 93.1 MPH.
Going into the bottom of the seventh with nine outs to get and a three run lead to protect, the Red Sox bullpen did less of an ideal job in an effort to shut down the Mariners lineup.
In the one inning he appeared in, Heath Hembree gave up a leadoff home run to M’s catcher Mike Zunino to cut the lead to two. And in the eighth, after walking Ryon Healy and giving up a single to Ben Gamel, Matt Barnes gave the game away when old friend Denard Span ripped a two RBI double to right field to plate the tying and go-ahead runs.
For the second time in three appearances, Barnes surrendered two earned runs and because of it, he was charged with both the blown save and loss.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was tasked with going up against one of the better pitchers in the American League in James Paxton for Seattle.
Paxton, a native of Canada, pitched as advertised in his first two innings of work, as he retired seven of the first eight batters he faced on three strikeouts.
Looking as though it was going to be a challenge to get anything on the board, the Red Sox, with some help from some careless defense from the Mariners, turned this game on its head in their half of the third.
With five of the first six batters reaching base in the lineup, an RBI single off the bat of Brock Holt cut the Red Sox deficit to two. Two batters later, after JD Martinez reached on a single to load the bases, Mitch Moreland came through with an unusual two RBI hit that must have crossed up Kyle Seager at third base.
Later ruled a fielding error on Seager’s part, Moreland was no longer credited with any RBI, but it still tied the game.
Amidst all the chaos, Xander Bogaerts followed that up by launching his 11th home run of the season, a 387 foot three-run piece to put the Red Sox in front 6-3.
Unfortunately, despite chasing Paxton out of the game in the third, the Red Sox failed to score from that point on. Credit to the Mariners bullpen there.
They loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Brock Holt lined out to left to end the inning.
With one last shot to score in the ninth and facing off against Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, a JD Martinez single and a Xander Bogaerts walk gave the Red Sox a chance with one out in the inning. That turned into nothing though, as Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez popped out and grounded out to wrap this thing up. Series tied at one game a piece now.
Some notes from this one:
In 15 games against the Red Sox withe the Mariners and Rays this season, Denard Span has an OPS of .990 with two home runs and 10 RBI.
Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to 10 games last night after a 2/5 day at the plate.
The Seattle Mariners have already won 22 one-run games this season.
Playing on national television later tonight, it will be Steven Wright and his 22.2 scoreless innings streak getting the start for the Red Sox. He will be matched up against Wade LeBlanc, a lefty, for the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET.