Seattle (42-38) at Boston (48-32)

Light Rain Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 44° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Jul 5, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Regardless of Sunday’s result, the Seattle Mariners probably won’t complain about their performance on a challenging nine-game road trip.

A victory, though, would make it historic.

The Mariners have never swept a three-game series at Fenway Park in their 32-year history, a feat they’ll achieve if they can get past Jon Lester(notes) and the Boston Red Sox in the finale.

Seattle has won five of eight to ensure a winning record on this trip, which began by splitting six games against the major league-best Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

The club entered the weekend with a 66-107 all-time record in Boston, and hadn’t won a series there since Aug. 14-16, 2001. Its only sweeps at Fenway came in two-game sets in 1985, 1991 and 1993

None of that stopped the Mariners (42-38) from winning a pair of tight games and moving to 4-1 against the Red Sox this year. After a 7-6, 11-inning win Friday, Seattle broke a tie in the top of the ninth Saturday before David Aardsma(notes) closed out the 3-2 victory with a perfect inning.

Aardsma was mostly ineffective for Boston last year, and was traded to Seattle for pitching prospect Fabian Williamson in January. The right-hander has responded by saving 17 of 18 opportunities and holding opponents to a .165 average.

“We wouldn’t be in this situation without him,” Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. “But it’s a credit to him. He’s worked so hard. He started in spring training, bounced around from team to team a little bit and just came up on a mission this year. He’s found a home here.”

Boston’s relievers in the first two games of the set have allowed three runs, four hits and six walks in six innings. With a 3.21 ERA, though, the Red Sox’s bullpen has been one of the best in the majors this year.

The Red Sox (48-32) have not been swept home all season, and the consecutive losses were just their second back-to-back defeats since the beginning of June. Jason Bay’s(notes) recent struggles have not helped, as the left fielder went 0 for 4 on Saturday and is 1 for 23 (.043) in his last five games.

With their AL East lead over the streaking New York Yankees down to one game, the Red Sox will look to the red-hot Lester to get them back on track. The Puyallup, Wash., native pitched seven impressive innings in a 4-0 win over Baltimore on Monday, striking out eight without issuing a walk.

Lester (7-6, 4.35 ERA) is 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his last six starts, with 52 strikeouts in 40 innings over that span. Opponents are hitting .183 against him in those games.

The left-hander’s slow start to the year included a loss in Seattle on May 15. He allowed five runs in 5 2-3 innings of the 5-4 defeat, with Ichiro(notes) Suzuki homering twice against him.

“It shows that, really, two mysterious things happened in the universe today,” Suzuki said through an interpreter.

Seattle’s Brandon Morrow(notes) (0-3, 5.14) has never started against the Red Sox, although he threw four hitless innings of relief against them last year.

Morrow has struggled in his return to the rotation. In four starts, he has thrown a total of 16 2-3 innings, allowing 19 hits and 11 walks.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Morrow SD vs. J. Lester ChC
2-4 Record 15-8
4.39 ERA 3.41
63 K 225
44 BB 64
1.58 WHIP 1.23


Sunday, Jul 5