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Mariners 3, Red Sox 2 (11 innings)

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- Chone Figgins, whose season had gone steadily downhill since losing his starting job in May, delivered a line drive to right deep enough to score Dustin Ackley from third base with the winning run as the Seattle Mariners pinned a 3-2, 11-inning loss on the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night at Safeco Field.

The rally started with one out in the bottom of the 11th when Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves, who had pitched just once in the last six days, gave up a single to Ackley after he retired the first five men he'd faced without difficulty.

Miguel Olivo created trouble with a single down the right-field line, putting men at the corners with Figgins at the plate. The third baseman-turned-outfielder hadn't had an RBI since June 2, a span of 24 at-bats, before delivering the game-winning sacrifice fly. Right fielder Cody Ross' throw had a chance to get Ackley, but the ball bounced past catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

The victory went to Shawn Kelley (2-2), who threw a 1-2-3 top of the 11th.

The Mariners struck first, scoring twice in the sixth inning against returning starter Josh Beckett, although Beckett's problems were not all of his own making. With one out and two on, he induced a catchable pop fly from Kyle Seager, a ball that fell near the left-field line between outfielder Daniel Nava and shortstop Mike Aviles.

That hit loaded the bases, and two pitches later Seattle DH John Jaso delivered a two-run double before Beckett was able to squirm out of further difficulty. His night was finished after he gave up four hits and three walks (one intentional) in six innings while throwing 85 pitches.

The Mariners were forced to use an all-hands-on-deck approach to pitching in this one after starter Erasmo Ramirez left the game in the third inning because of a knee injury.

The Red Sox were muzzled until the seventh, when Adrian Gonzalez singled off lefty Lucas Luetge, chasing the rookie. Veteran Brandon League took over and yielded back-to-back singles to Will Middlebrooks and Ross, the Ross hit producing the Red Sox's first run.

Moments later the game was tied when a League fastball with Aviles at the plate tipped off the glove of catcher Miguel Olivo for a passed ball, bringing Middlebrooks home from third.

Josh Beckett, making his first start for Boston since June 11, showed no signs of his injury issues in the early going. He retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced, failing only when he walked Justin Smoak with one out in the second inning.

He did need some help, however. Ross made a leaping catch at the wall in the third to take extra bases away from Ichiro Suzuki, and Gonzalez speared a couple of line drives at first base that could have been trouble.

For the second time in four games, the Mariners lost a starting pitcher in the early innings.

Ramirez was at the top of his game from the start, retiring each of the first eight batters he faced. The eighth, however, was Boston outfielder Ryan Kalish, who hit a comebacker to Ramirez. The right-hander made the throw to first for the out, but Olivo noticed that something was wrong and immediately came to the mound.

The issue turned out to be a knee injury, and Ramirez was lifted and replaced by Charlie Furbush.

On Wednesday against Oakland, Kevin Millwood came out of the game in exactly the same spot, having recorded eight outs. Millwood's problem was a groin strain that will keep him from making his next start Monday against Baltimore. Hisashi Iwakuma will make that start. It's possible that Millwood will make Ramirez's next start if the rookie isn't ready to go.

Furbush allowed three hits and a walk in getting the Mariners through the fifth without allowing anybody to get as far as third base.

NOTES: In order to get Saturday starter Josh Beckett on the roster from the disabled list, Boston put outfielder Darnell McDonald on the designated for assignment list. The Red Sox have 10 days to trade him, release him or have him sign a minor league deal if he clears waivers and is willing. ... Seattle manager Eric Wedge had a 22-minute closed door meeting with his team before Saturday's stretching session and batting practice. Wedge said that watching the team lose 5-0 on a two-hitter by Boston's Aaron Cook was the last straw. "Last night was unacceptable," Wedge said. "Your bad can only be so bad, and we were beyond that. You play as if every game was the last one -- and some of these guys should be playing as if it could be their last game." ... Seattle's Michael Saunders remains under the weather with flu-like symptoms, but there's a chance he could start in the series finale Sunday.
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