I’m pretty sure when the plane leaves Seattle on Sunday, the Boston Red Sox will be very happy to leave the west coast behind because once again it wasn’t kind to them.
Ichiro Suzuki hit two home runs, the latter of which gave the Seattle Mariners the lead for good, to help the Mariners to a 5-4 win over the Red Sox in front of 34,952 at Safeco Field.
The loss for the Red Sox is their third straight and drops them to 21-15 on the season. The Mariners had come in to the game losers of 9 of their last 10 games but the win improves their record to 17-19.
Jon Lester got the start for the Red Sox on Friday night and while he wasn’t at his best, he didn’t pitch that badly. It was a lack of focus or concentration on a potential double play ball that cost him. He ended up going 5 2/3 innings and was charged with 5 runs that came on 8 hits and 3 walks while recording 5 strikeouts.
Daniel Bard looked good once again as he went 1 1/3 innings allowing 2 hits. Takashi Saito allowed a hit and a walk in his inning of work.
Thirty-year old rookie Chris Jakubauskas had a rough time early in the game for the Mariners but settled in to give them 6 innings. He allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. Sean White, Mark Lowe and David Aardsma combined to shut down the Red Sox over the final three innings with Aardsma picking up his 4th save of the season.
J.D. Drew moved into the 3 spot in the lineup as David Ortiz has been given the weekend off to get his head straight. He responded to the change with 3 hits and drove in one. Jacoby Ellsbury also had a good night at the plate as he had three hits, falling just a homer short of the cycle and an RBI. He now has an 11-game hitting streak. The only other members of the visiting nine to have hits were Mike Lowell and Jeff Bailey. Julio Lugo drove in the other run.
Ellsbury started things off in the 1st inning with a lead-off double. He went to third on a Dustin Pedroia groundout and then came around to score on a Drew to single to center for a 1-0 lead.
After Jakubauskas got the first two outs of the 2nd inning, Bailey reached on an infield single. Ellsbury brought him in with a triple into the gap in left center to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
Drew started things in the 3rd with a lead-off double. A walk to Jason Bay and a Lowell single loaded up the bases for Rocco Baldelli. Jakubauskas struck out Baldelli for the first out. Lugo then knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice to second and his hustle down the line and a bad throw from M’s second baseman Jose Lopez allowed Bay to score to give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead.
Up until the 5th inning, Lester wasn’t really throwing all that badly. He made the pitches when he needed too and was able to work out of trouble in the 1st and 4th innings.
In the 5th, he was greeted by a home run from Ichiro that cut the lead to 4-1. He settled down and retired the next 3 batters.
The lack of focus/concetnration came in the 6th inning for Lester.
After he got the first out, Russell Branyan and Kenji Johjima had back-to-back singles. Lester then got the ground ball he needed from the bat of Yuniesky Betancourt that went back to him. Unfortunately Lester thought Lugo was supposed to cover second when Pedroia was there and double pumped before deciding to barely get the out at first base.
This ended up costing Lester the game as Franklin Gutierrez laced a single that scored Branyan and Johjima to cut the Red Sox lead to 4-3. Ichiro followed that up with the game-winning two run homer that also ended Lester’s night.
The Red Sox will now look to Josh Beckett to put a stop to this game losing streak. Former Baltimore Oriole Garrett Olson will step in for another former Oriole, Erik Bedard who is out with a tight right hamstring. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 PM tonight and will serve as the final late night game (barring rain delays) on the left coast.