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Mariners 2, Red Sox 1

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- Kevin Millwood put a miserable August behind him with a strong start in his first September appearance, allowing one run in six innings Wednesday as the Seattle Mariners defeated Boston 2-1 to finish off one of the worst road trips in recent Red Sox memory.

The Red Sox went 0-3 in Anaheim, 0-3 in Oakland and 1-2 in Seattle to finish a West Coast swing with a 1-8 record that leaves Boston (63-75) a dozen games under .500.

Seattle, meanwhile, continues to make a push for a possible .500 finish to the season. The Mariners are 30-20 since the All-Star break and are four games under .500 at 67-71. The 67 wins are as many as the club had in all of 2011.

After the Mariners frittered away scoring chances in the second and third innings, Seattle loaded the bases against Boston starter Aaron Cook in the fourth. The right-hander got one out, but Dustin Ackley singled up the middle, producing Seattle's only two runs of the game.

Millwood, who was 0-4 with a 5.97 ERA in August, had a shutout for five innings before allowing a run-scoring double to Cody Ross in the sixth. Ross had three hits off Millwood. The rest of the Boston lineup produced just one against the veteran, who is 5-12.

Seattle's bullpen held the Red Sox at bay the final three innings, Tom Wilhelmsen pitching the ninth for his 24th save.

The Red Sox put two men on base with one out against Millwood in the second inning, but Ryan Lavarnway, who hit the game-winning homer Tuesday, grounded into a double play.

Boston then got two singles and a walk with two out to load the bases in the fourth, but Lavarnway again grounded out.

Millwood has been swimming upstream since May, when he won three consecutive starts to get to 4-5 on the year. He had won just once in 17 starts since, and that came seven starts ago on July 28 against Kansas City. So Seattle manager Eric Wedge wasn't likely to go deep into the game with the veteran if the Mariners could give him a lead.

And they did, although it wasn't huge, and it wasn't easy to come by.

The Red Sox's pitching staff came into the game with a 1.48 ERA in eight games against Seattle this year, but it hasn't been that the Mariners haven't had their chances. Seattle went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in Tuesday's 4-3 loss, and in the first three innings Wednesday it was more of the same. Seattle put five men on base in the first three innings but never got a runner past second base.

NOTES: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had a contentious time of it on his weekly radio show in Boston on Wednesday morning, at one time calling his first year as the Red Sox manager "miserable." He expanded on that before the game, saying, "I don't like to talk about my emotions or feelings. There's been a little misery. I don't know if it goes 24/7, (but) after a loss, I am miserable." ... Valentine said general manager Ben Cherington is looking to add another outfielder to the roster for the final month of the season. ... Jeff Pentland, who was the Mariners' batting coach from 2005-08, has joined the team for the final month of the season. Pentland, the batting coach in Triple-A Tacoma this year, has worked with many of the younger players on the Seattle roster and will back up batting coach Chris Chambliss. ... With the Red Sox leaving town, the Mariners have only three more games against teams currently holding losing records. That means 21 of the final 24 games are against teams with winning records, and that could make it very difficult for Seattle to complete a climb back to .500 by season's end.
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