Tanner Houck sputters after strong start as Red Sox drop fourth straight in 10-1 loss to Mariners

Coming off an ugly weekend, the Red Sox were unable to reverse their fortunes in a series-opening loss to the Mariners on Monday night. Boston fell to Seattle by a final score of 10-1 for its fourth straight loss and the sixth in its last seven games as the club dropped to 22-20 on the season.

Tanner Houck, making his eighth start of the year for the Sox, was impressive out of the gate. The right-hander retired the first 12 batters he faced and took a perfect game bid into the fourth inning before giving up a two-out double to Julio Rodriguez. Though he stranded Rodriguez at second to get through four scoreless frames, Houck ran into some serious trouble in the fifth.

After surrendering a leadoff single to Eugenio Suarez, Houck served up a 438-foot two-run shot to Cal Raleigh to put Boston in a 2-0 hole. An inning later, Ty France led off with a line-drive double down the right field and moved up to third on an Alex Verdugo throwing error. Rodriguez then drew a five-pitch walk to put runners on the corners with no outs.

While he had thrown just 75 pitches (50 strikes) to that point in the contest, Houck was given the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora in favor of lefty Brennan Bernardino. Bernardino, in turn, allowed both inherited runners to score on a a Jarred Kelenic RBI groundout and Raleigh’s second two-run homer of the night.

That sequence of events gave the Mariners a 5-0 lead and closed the book on Houck, who was charged with four of those five runs. The 28-year-old gave up five hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts over five-plus innings of work. He was hit with the losing decision as his ERA on the season rose to 5.48.

Trailing by five runs going into the bottom of the sixth, the Red Sox lineup finally got to Mariners starter George Kirby. Jarren Duran led off with a line-drive double and Rafael Devers drove him in with a two-base hit of his own to cut the deficit to four. They had a chance to pull even closer in the seventh, but Alex Verdugo lined out with the bases loaded for the final out of the inning.

Seattle then began to break this one open in the top of the eighth. With Richard Bleier in the game for Boston, Suarez crushed a two-run home run and A.J. Pollock and France each drove in runs to give the Mariners a commanding 9-1 advantage.

In the ninth, Pablo Reyes took over on the mound after spending the previous eight innings manning shortstop. Making the second relief appearance of his big-league career, Reyes featured a pitch mix that consisted of 13 eephus curveballs that sat between 34-47 mph and eight fastballs that hovered between 61-75 mph. He allowed one run on two hits and two walks.

Reyes followed that performance by singling with one out in the latter half of the ninth, but his hit was quickly nullified as Enmanuel Valdez grounded into a game-ending double play.

Schreiber exits with lat injury

Reliever John Schreiber entered with one out in the seventh and struck out the first batter he faced in France. The righty then threw a 2-1, 93.3 mph sinker to Rodriguez and began flexing his throwing arm after the fact. That prompted Cora and head athletic trainer Brandon Henry to quickly emerge from the Red Sox dugout.

After a lengthy conference on the mound, Schreiber was taken out of the game and replaced by Bleier. The team later said that Schreiber left with “right lat tightness.” Cora then told reporters that the 29-year-old will likely land on the injured list because of it.

Raleigh makes history with power display

With his two home runs on Monday, Raleigh made some history. The switch-hitter homered from the left side of the plate in in the fifth inning and from the right side in the sixth. In doing so, he became the first catcher ever to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a game in Fenway Park’s 112-year history, according to the Mariners’ Alex Mayer.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Castillo

The Red Sox will look to put an end to this four-game losing streak as they send Nick Pivetta to the mound on Tuesday night. The Mariners will counter with fellow righty Luis Castillo.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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