Seattle (60-69) hasn’t swept a three-game home series against Boston since Sept. 11-13, 1989 at the Kingdome. The Mariners rallied for a 4-3 victory Saturday to improve to 4-1 on a nine-game homestand after an 0-11 road trip.
“We have been playing with an intensity we did not have on the last road trip, but an intensity that we had before the road trip,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.
Boston (71-58) fell to 2-3 on its nine-game trip and remained 5 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East race. The Red Sox have lost 10 out of 13 games and are also 5 1/2 games behind AL wild card leader Minnesota.
The Red Sox bullpen was the culprit again Saturday as Mike Timlin failed to protect a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning. Adrian Beltre greeted the reliever with a leadoff homer and pinch-hitter Ben Broussard’s sacrifice fly later in the frame put the Mariners ahead for good.
Boston has an 8.13 bullpen ERA over the last 10 games, with three blown saves in five chances.
“It hurts. You’re up in the eighth. You feel like that’s a game for us to win,” said Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, who had three of Boston’s seven hits. “It feels like one of these runs where no lead is ever safe. We have to score more than two or three runs a game.”
Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez returned to the lineup and went 0-for-3 with a walk after missing the last two games with a sore right knee. Ramirez is batting .378 (28-for-74) over his last 23 games.
While Boston got one outfielder back, they lost another in Wily Mo Pena, who missed Saturday’s loss with a sore tendon in his left wrist and could miss the series finale.
“It’s really sore,” Pena said. “It’ll be fine in a couple days.”
Boston fell to 8-17 in August, guaranteeing a losing month and snapping a 13-month streak in which the club had played .500 ball or better.
Beltre went 2-for-4 in his return to action after missing two games with a stiff neck. He’s homered seven times in August after connecting only nine times through the first four months of the season.
The Mariners improved to 22-15 against AL East opponents—the only division against which they own a winning record.
Cha Seung Baek (0-0, 5.40 ERA) makes his second start of the season for Seattle. Baek was called up from Triple-A Tacoma before making his season debut Tuesday against the New York Yankees.
The 26-year-old right-hander allowed three hits and three runs in five innings of a 6-5 victory. He struck out six and walked three.
Baek went 12-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 24 starts for Tacoma this year.
Kyle Snyder (3-2, 6.23) will get the ball for his sixth start with Boston this year. He’s 2-2 with a 5.61 ERA in his first five outings with the club, lasting past the fifth inning just once.
The right-hander opened this road trip for the Red Sox by giving up three runs and nine hits over five innings and did not figure in the decision in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.
Snyder is facing Seattle for the second time this year. He earned the win in a 9-4 victory on July 21, surrendering two unearned runs and five hits over five innings.