The Red Sox once again fell behind early against the Mariners on Saturday but battled their way back at Fenway Park. Boston defeated Seattle by a final score of 6-5 to win their fourth straight game and third consecutive series while improving to 18-22 on the season.
Before the Sox could even take their first at-bats of the afternoon, they already found themselves trailing by four runs. Garrett Whitlock, making his sixth start of the year, allowed the Mariners to score four times in the top half of the first inning.
After getting through a scoreless second inning, the right-hander ran into more trouble in the third by giving up back-to-back two-out hits to Mike Ford and Luis Torrens, which resulted in another Seattle run crossing the plate.
The third would prove to be Whitlock’s final inning of work, as he wound up surrendering a season-high five earned runs on 10 hits, no walks, and three strikeouts on 71 pitches (48 strikes). The 25-year-old’s ERA now sits at 3.58.
To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had yet to do anything of significance against opposing starter Chris Flexen. That changed in the bottom half of the third though, as Rafael Devers got his productive day at the plate started by crushing a 413-foot solo shot into the bleachers to get his side on the board and make it a 5-1 ballgame.
Fast forward to the fifth, after Tyler Danish had hurled two scoreless frames out of the Sox bullpen, and Devers struck again. Following a leadoff double from Enrique Hernandez, the left-handed slugger took Flexen 386 feet over the Green Monster for his second big fly of the game and ninth of the season.
Devers’ two-run blast, which had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, cut the deficit down to two runs at 5-3. But the Red Sox were not done there. A J.D. Martinez double and Xander Bogaerts single chased Flexen from the contest and put runners on the corners for Bobby Dalbec, who greeted new Mariners reliever Sergio Romo by lifting an RBI single to center field to drive in Martinez and move Bogaerts up to third. Trevor Story followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Bogaerts to tie things up at five runs apiece.
From there, Jake Diekman punched out the side in the sixth, Hansel Robles worked his way around a two-out double in the seventh, and John Schreiber retired the only three batters he faced in the top of the eighth to keep the 5-5 tie intact.
With one out in the bottom half of the eighth, Franchy Cordero laced a 110.5 mph triple off the Green Monster to put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position for Christian Vazquez, who came through with the game-winning single off Drew Steckenrider that plated Cordero and gave the Sox a 6-5 lead.
Looking to protect that lead, Red Sox manager Alex Cora called upon Matt Barnes to take the mound in the ninth inning. Barnes, in turn, needed just 15 pitches (and a little defensive help from Hernandez) to slam the door shut on the Mariners and notch his second save of the season.
All told, five Boston relievers (Danish, Diekman, Robles, Schreiber, and Barnes) combined to toss six shutout innings in relief of Whitlock on Saturday. The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, went 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position while putting together their largest comeback win of the season thus far.
Next up: Gilbert vs. Eovaldi in series finale
The Red Sox will look to close out the weekend with a four-game sweep over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. Veteran right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston opposite fellow righty Logan Gilbert for Seattle.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)