Seattle Mariners fall 6-4 to Red Sox in season opener

<div>SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MARCH 28: <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Tyler O'Neill;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Tyler O'Neill</a> #17 of the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Boston Red Sox;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Boston Red Sox</a> scores against <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Cal Raleigh;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Cal Raleigh</a> #29 of the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Seattle Mariners;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Seattle Mariners</a> on a throwing error by <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Josh Rojas;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Josh Rojas</a> #4 during the fourth inning of the Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on March 28, 2024 in Seattle, Washington.</div> <strong>(Alika Jenner / Getty Images)</strong>

SEATTLE - Luis Castillo managed to go just five innings as the Boston Red Sox scored four runs on six hits and two walks off the Mariners ace to put a damper on Opening Day festivities in a 6-4 Seattle loss on Thursday night.

Rafael Devers had a two-run home run and a double off Castillo, who allowed the four runs over his final three innings after a strong start to the contest. Former Mariners draft pick Tyler O'Neill set a MLB record by hitting a home run in his fifth straight Opening Day as well for Boston.

"Not the way we want to start, but we have a lot of games to go. We have a good team," manager Scott Servais said.

Mitch Haniger and Dylan Moore each provided two-run home runs for the Mariners, but they were unable to score otherwise despite eight hits. The cold weather of April also showed itself as Josh Rojas, Jorge Polanco and Mitch Garver all had fly balls to right field die harmlessly on the warning track.

Castillo just wasn't his peak dominant self against Boston. He struck out a pair in the first inning and racked up a third strikeouts in the second inning. But after that, the Red Sox managed to find consistent contact against Castillo.

"Some of the pitches didn't go where I wanted it to go and those were situations that got us," Castillo said through translator Freddy Llanos.

Castillo said his sinker ran a little bit high on the pitch Devers hit for a home run. Additionally, Servais noted Castillo didn't have his typical sharpness early in counts.

"It's uncharacteristic," Servais said. "He just dominates the strike zone in those 0-0 counts. Didn't do it tonight. A lot of close pitches. They did not chase. They were very disciplined tonight."

Even so, the Mariners probably should have had at least a run in the first inning. J.P. Crawford thought he drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch that appeared to miss off the outside of the plate. Home plate umpire Larry Vanover disagreed and called strike two. Crawford then grounded out to second base instead.

Julio Rodríguez followed with a double into the corner in right field that very well could have scored Crawford from first base. And if it didn't, Jorge Polanco's ensuing single certainly would have.

But the threat quickly ended as Garver grounded to shortstop for a double play as Boston escaped the jam unscathed.

The Red Sox struck first in the third inning as Rafael Devers muscled a Castillo pitch over the outside of the plate deep to left-center field and into the Mariners' bullpen for a two-run home run to take the lead.

A single by Triston Casas and double from Masataka Yoshida put a pair of runners on in the fourth inning. Ceddanne Rafaela grounded to third base as Josh Rojas tried to nab the lead runner at home over for his throw to hit off the helmet of O'Neill for a throwing error, which allowed the runner to score for a 3-0 Boston advantage.

Haniger finally got Seattle on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Haniger delivered his own opposite field two-run home run off Boston starter Brayan Bello into the seats in right field to cut the lead to 3-2.

Haniger had received large ovations prior to the game and his first at-bat in his return the Mariners after a season with the San Francisco Giants. Haniger was able to deliver the fans a memorable moment in his return to Seattle.

"It was great," Haniger said. "I've looked forward to this moment a lot and it's good to be back in a Mariners uniform. I love playing in front of our fans here in T-Mobile (Park) and it's a really special place to play, and I've been extremely grateful they brought me back and it's a lot of fun."

Haniger finished the night 2-for-3 with a walk, a home run, and two RBI.

But Boston would load the bases in the fifth inning on a Jarren Duran single, Devers double, and Trevor Story walk. A fielder's choice from Casas was enough to score Duran and extend the lead back to two, 4-2.

Castillo's night would end after five innings, having allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

Then another defensive miscue came back to bite the Mariners. Left fielder Dominic Canzone was a little nonchalant chasing a Rafaela ball into the left field corner with one out in the sixth inning that allowed Rafaela to grab an extra base for a triple. It was a key extra bag as Connor Wong's two-out single to right field was enough to score the run and push the Boston lead to 5-2.

Trevor Story then managed to reach first base for a single on a relatively routine ground ball to third base that Luis Urías couldn't get across the infield in time.

"I didn't think we played our cleanest game tonight," Servais said. "We had an error, a couple other plays that we typically make that we didn't and they took advantage of it.

"Ball down in the left field corner that they turned into a triple. Urías needs to get rid of that ball. Story is running really well down the line, you know, you've got to have that internal clock set right."

Haniger singled to center for his second of the night to lead off the seventh inning with Dylan Moore delivering a pinch-hit two-run home run to center field off reliever Joely Rodríguez to trim the Red Sox lead to 5-4.

"Pinch-hitting is not easy, especially a pinch-hit homer. It's an unbelievable feeling. What an at-bat by Dylan there," Haniger said. "That's huge for him. Has to step up off the bench and just stay in the moment."

However, O'Neill – a former Mariners draft pick that was traded to acquire pitcher Marco Gonzales in 2017 – led off the eighth inning with a solo homer to right-center field to push the Boston lead back to two.

A two-out double from Garver in the eighth, and a leadoff walk from Haniger in the ninth weren't enough to cut into the Boston lead as Kenley Jansen closed out the victory for the Red Sox.


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