Boston (67-43) at Seattle (60-48)

Cloudy Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun Aug 5, 2007
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The Boston Red Sox finally solved their woes at Safeco Field. Ichiro Suzuki and several key hitters for the Seattle Mariners haven’t solved Josh Beckett very often.

Beckett will pitch at Safeco for the first time in his career when the Red Sox and Mariners complete their three-game series on Sunday.

Boston (67-43) ended a nine-game losing streak in Seattle with a 4-3 victory on Saturday. Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out 10 in seven innings and Jason Varitek drove in two runs with a double in the fourth for the Red Sox, who improved to 1-1 on a nine-game road trip.

Suzuki went 0-for-5, continuing his struggles against Boston. He’s 5-for-31 (.161) against the Red Sox despite being second in the majors with a .347 batting average.

Suzuki is one of several Mariners who haven’t enjoyed much success against Beckett (13-5, 3.41 ERA) in their careers. Suzuki is 1-for-10 with four strikeouts, Adrian Beltre is 3-for-17 with seven strikeouts, Jose Guillen is 3-for-15 and Raul Ibanez is 2-for-9.

Those four combined to go 0-for-11 with five strikeouts against Beckett in Boston’s 14-3 win on April 10. The right-hander gave up one run and two hits over seven innings while striking out eight to improve to 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners (60-48).

Beckett can tie Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia and the Chicago CubsCarlos Zambrano for the major league lead in victories, but he lost his second straight outing after surrendering five runs over eight innings in a 5-3 loss to Baltimore on Tuesday.

Beckett also exploded in an expletive-filled postgame news conference. Asked if he took any solace in preserving the bullpen by lasting eight innings, he said, “Eight (expletive) innings instead of five? Not really.”

Suzuki will be the designated hitter Sunday so top prospect Adam Jones can start in center field. Jones played in 32 games for the Mariners last season and started in left field in his season debut Friday, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored in a 7-4 victory.

The Mariners missed a chance to move on top of the AL wild card race with Saturday’s loss, remaining one-half game behind Detroit. They’re also 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels in the West.

Seattle’s Miguel Batista (11-7, 4.23) looks to set a new personal single-season high for wins. He won 11 games with Arizona in 2001 and 2006, and is 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break.

“Well, I have a team that can catch and hit for me,” said Batista, who has pitched for eight teams since 1992. “Last year, I had 14 no-decisions.”

Batista turned in his best start of the season Monday when he yielded four singles in seven innings and did not issue a walk in a 2-0 win over the Angels.

The right-hander went 2-3 in seven career starts against Boston from 2002-04. He also had a 5.68 ERA in seven relief appearances against the Red Sox in 2005 with Toronto.

Like many pitchers, Batista has had trouble facing Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Ramirez is 8-for-20 (.400) against him while Ortiz is 6-for-16 (.375) with two homers.

Ortiz, who is 5-for-9 in this series, is hitting .364 (12-for-33) against Seattle this year.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Beckett LAD vs. M. Batista Col
20-7 Record 16-11
3.27 ERA 4.29
194 K 133
40 BB 85
1.14 WHIP 1.52

Scoreboard

Sunday, Aug 5