Daniel Nava ripped a hanging curve from Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen into center field with two outs in the 10th that scored Ryan Lavarnway and lifted the Boston Red Sox, who staged another big comeback, to an 8-7 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field Thursday. The Mariners lost their third consecutive game and fell to 40-52, 14.0 games behind Oakland in the AL West.
Seattle had ample chances. The Mariners led 5-1 after two innings and subsequently had 5-4, 6-4 and 7-4 advantages. But Boston’s relentless offense, ranked No. 1 in the American League in most offensive categories, battled back to tie at 7, setting up Nava’s game-winning hit off Wilhelmsen in the 10th.
Erasmo Ramirez, called up Thursday morning from AAA Tacoma to replace the departed Jeremy Bonderman in Seattle’s rotation, did not factor in the decision. He allowed a leadoff home run to Jacoby Ellsbury but otherwise pitched well early, but ultimately wound up allowing seven earned runs on six hits in 4.2 innings.
The Mariners have played 14 extra-inning games (15.2 percent of their schedule), most in the American League, and are 6-8.
In the four-game series, the Red Sox scored 34 runs to Seattle’s 30, but came away with three victories.
Seattle received multi-hit efforts from Brad Miller (2-for-5), Endy Chavez (2-for-3), Raul Ibanez (2-for-4) and Kyle Seager (2-for-5), and collected 12 hits to Boston’s 10. But the Red Sox got the key blow from Nava, who was 0-for-5 until the 10th, making a winner out of knuckleball reliever Steven Wright, who did not allow the Mariners a run in 5.2 innings.
Ellsbury open the game with a homer off Ramirez on a 1-and-1 count, but Seager retaliated off Boston starter Ryan Dempster. For Seager, the home run was his 14th and extended his hitting streak to a season-best 11 games.
The Mariners added three more runs in the second on a run-scoring double by Miller and Chavez’s two-run, two-bagger for a 4-1 lead. Dempster hadn’t allowed more than three runs in a game since May 23.
The Mariners added a run in the third on an RBI single by Michael Saunders for a 5-1 lead. But Boston stormed back with three in the fourth on RBI singles by Brock Holt, Jose Iglesias and former Mariner Mike Carp.
The Mariners put Chavez and Miller aboard with no outs in the fourth. In that situation, the Mariners usually come up empty — one reason why they trail the American League in batting average with runners in scoring position. But this time, they cashed twice, Kendrys Morales and Seager delivering singles for a 7-4 lead.
Carp’s sacrifice fly, scoring Dustin Pedroia, in the fifth brought Boston to within 7-5. That was it for Ramirez, who yielded to Charlie Furbush, who immediately yielded run-scoring singles to Holt and Iglesias to give Boston to tie. The last two runs were charged to Ramirez.
The Mariners begin a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels Friday night at Safeco Field. LHP Joe Saunders (7-8, 4.51) will work opposite RHP Jerome Williams (5-4, 4.16). Following the All-Star break July 15-18, the Mariners launch the second half with a three-game series at Houston (July 19-21).
The Mariners return to Safeco Field July 22 for a seven-game home stand against Cleveland and Minnesota.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Mariners recalled Ramirez and optioned RHP Carter Capps to the Rainiers to make room on the 25-man roster. Capps went 2-2, 6.37 in 33 relief appearances . . . Rookie Nick Franklin was held out of the series finale Thursday with a bothersome right knee. He left the game in the seventh inning Wednesday . . . The Mariners outrighted the contract of Jeremy Bonderman to the minor leagues Thursday, but he declined the assignment and elected free agency . . . Kyle Seager’s 14th home run Thursday extended the club’s streak of homers to 19 consecutive games with at least one, tying a club record set Sept. 7-27, 1999.
If not for 3 UNearned Mariners runs, the Red Sox would have won 7-4.
Again I don’t get the handling of the bullpen. Wedge uses Wilhelmsen after he threw more than 30 pitches the night before? After seeing the rise and fall of Brandon League and now Wilhelmsen I’m not sure if the club needs at least a strong pitching or bullpen coach a la Bryan Price who won’t hesitate to tell the manager “Not tonight for this guy Skip. Use someone else” when he makes the call to the ‘pen.
Also questioning if the club is just waiting for the All-Star break at this point. Hopefully they’ll come back a bit more refreshed. They should have at least split this series.