Red Sox 9, Mariners 2
SEATTLE (AP)—Coco Crisp doubled twice, scored twice, drove in a run and made a great running catch.
But his best move of the game came while being run down by a moose in an all-terrain vehicle.
Crisp escaped major damage when the “Mariner Moose” mascot clipped Boston’s center fielder with an ATV, Manny Ramirez homered and drove in two and Josh Beckett struck out nine as the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 9-2 on a bizarre Sunday.
“Never really gotten hit by a moving vehicle before. That was the most athletic thing I did all day,” Crisp said, grinning after the moose’s ATV hit the back of his legs and knocked him to his knees on the infield warning track at the beginning of a stunt in front of Boston’s dugout in the middle of the fifth inning.
Crisp and the Red Sox could smile. They won for the fourth time in five games to remain seven games ahead of the New York Yankees atop the AL East.
The Mariners lost for the second consecutive day but just the third time in nine games to fall 3 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels for the AL West lead.
“It didn’t hit me flush. I didn’t see it, but I heard it,” Crisp said of the ATV, which he moved away from the last instant to avoid a potentially serious injury.
As Seattle’s third consecutive sellout crowd laughed, Crisp scrambled to his feet and playfully feigned anger. He cocked his arm as if he was going to throw his glove at his assailant.
“I’m not an angry man,” Crisp said. “It was an accident. I mean, I’m not going to run over and clothesline the guy.”
Bill Bavasi wanted to. Within two minutes of the mishap, Seattle’s general manager sent an apology to Boston manager Terry Francona in the dugout. Francona missed the incident because he was using the clubhouse bathroom.
“I told him we’re taking care of it,” Bavasi said after the game, referring to perhaps a now ex-employee.
“I actually got a very kind message from Bill Bavasi,” Francona said. “It would have been a horrible accident.”
Seattle manager John McLaren’s laughing response, knowing Crisp was OK: “Is the moose hurt?”
They also played baseball. And nearly all the good was done by Boston.
Ramirez hit his 19th home run of the season off Miguel Batista in the fifth. And Beckett (14-5), who had lost three of his four decisions since the All-Star break, repeatedly escaped trouble to join C.C. Sabathia and John Lackey for the AL lead in wins. Beckett allowed eight hits and walked two in 6 2-3 innings.
“We’re trying to win series from here on out,” Beckett said.
Seattle got within 3-1 with two outs in the sixth on an RBI single by Jamie Burke. The crowd roared as the Mariners appeared ready to rally, but Yuniesky Betancourt, Seattle’s hitting hero of the week, grounded out to end the inning. It was the third time the Mariners stranded two runners against Beckett.
Boston sealed the game in the seventh. J.D. Drew’s triple off Eric O’Flaherty scored David Ortiz, after the bullish slugger got his second stolen base of the season because Ben Broussard wasn’t holding him on first base and no one covered second as catcher Burke’s throw sailed into center field. Ortiz just stood on the base and laughed.
“(Broussard) was actually trying to put a (pickoff) play on—and the big boy took off,” McLaren said, laughing.
Mike Lowell then scored Drew with a single to make it 5-1.
Beckett had seven strikeouts through three. But Seattle had chances against him.
Adrian Beltre stranded two runners with a groundout to end the first. Beltre and Broussard, starting for the second consecutive game for woeful Richie Sexson, struck out to leave two more in the second. And with two on and two out in the third—after second baseman Cora’s sprawling, diving catch of a line drive by Burke—Beckett picked Raul Ibanez off second base.
The Red Sox had nine baserunners in the first three innings as Batista (11-8) walked five, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. But Boston led only 2-0.
Crisp doubled to begin the game. After Ortiz walked with one out, Ramirez hit a drive to the warning track in center field. The ball went off the glove of Adam Jones, the Triple-A star who arrived Friday and was giving Ichiro Suzuki a day as designated hitter. Jones was given an error on the play, and Ramirez was awarded an RBI when Crisp scored. Batista then walked Jason Varitek on five pitches with the bases loaded to make it 2-0.
Crisp also made a running, diving catch in center field on a sinking liner by Jose Vidro in the seventh. Crisp made it 6-1 with a sacrifice fly in Boston’s three-run seventh and 9-1 when he singled and then scored on a double by Dustin Pedroia in the ninth.
But all he’ll remember from Sunday is the weird encounter with wildlife. So will he buy the mascot dinner the next time he’s in Seattle, as an all’s-well gesture?
“Yeah,” Crisp said. “We’ll have moose jerky.”
Batista allowed three runs—two earned—and five hits in six laborious innings. He struck out three. The Red Sox scored six runs off four Seattle relievers after he left. … Suzuki went 0-for-5 with a run scored, extending his hitless streak to 12 at-bats—one short of his season-long skid.