SEATTLE (AP) – Brock Holt made sure an outstanding effort by the Red Sox bullpen did not go to waste.
Holt’s RBI single in the 11th inning lifted Boston past the Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Thursday night, a victory made possible by five scoreless innings by Red Sox relievers.
Travis Shaw, who had a solo homer in the second, opened the 11th against Cody Martin (1-2) with an opposite-field single to left against the shift. Sandy Leon sacrificed Shaw to second and Holt then bounced a single up the middle off the glove of diving shortstop Sean O’Malley.
“We we’re grinding through that game and to get the one run was big,” Holt said. “Travis with a big at-bat to lead things off there and then Sandy laid down a perfect bunt, so good team baseball in the last inning for us.”
O’Malley, playing short with regular Ketel Marte sidelined with mononucleosis, said he should have at least kept the ball from getting through.
“I thought I should have had it,” O’Malley said. “It was a tough play. The ball came up and made a little funny hop. But, I got a glove on it. Worst case, I just wanted to keep that in the infield. Unfortunately, it scooted into center and it ended up being the difference.”
Craig Kimbrel (2-3) retired all four batters he faced – including striking out the side in the 10th – for the victory. Brad Ziegler pitched the 11th for his third save, stranding the tying run at third.
“Guys came in and did an outstanding job,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “We didn’t have the greatest matchups at the end, with Brad and the number of left-handers that were coming to the plate, but still he found a way to use his changeup and his off-speed pitches effectively.”
The Mariners put two runners aboard in the ninth against Fernando Abad when Farrell opted for Kimbrel to face Robinson Cano, who hit a game-deciding three-run homer off Abad on Tuesday.
“I felt like we’re in the fifth hitter of the inning and their best hitter is coming up,” Farrell said. “Felt like it was an opportunity for us to go to our most powerful reliever with the highest strikeout ratio there. Didn’t think he’d get out of it with just two pitches and a ground ball, but it worked out well.”
Seattle tied it with two runs in the fifth inning. O’Malley hit the first pitch into the left-field seats for his first homer of the season and second of his career. Guillermo Heredia followed with a bunt single and advanced to third on consecutive ground outs. After Nelson Cruz was walked intentionally, Dae-Ho Lee blooped an RBI single into shallow right-center.
Shaw opened the second with his 13th homer, driving a 2-0 pitch over the right-field wall to put Boston up 1-0.
The Red Sox made it 2-0 in the fifth when Bryce Brentz and Mookie Betts opened the inning with consecutive doubles.
Seattle starter Ariel Miranda, acquired from Baltimore on July 31 for left-hander Wade Miley, allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings in his major league debut after being called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Tacoma.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out in the first on singles by Xavier Bogaerts and David Ortiz and a walk to Dustin Pedroia, but Miranda escaped by striking out Jackie Bradley Jr. and getting Aaron Hill on a fly out to right.
Seattle loaded the bases in the fourth on three walks by Drew Pomerantz, but Leonys Martin bounced to first to end the inning. Pomerantz, yet to win in four starts since being acquired from San Diego, allowed just two runs on four hits, but issued a career-high six walks.
Miranda was one of three Cuban-born players in the Mariners starting lineup, along with Heredia and Leonys Martin. The Mariners said it was the first time an American League team started a Cuban-born pitcher and two Cuban-born position players in the same game since Minnesota on Sept. 27, 1970, when Luis Tiant pitched with position players Tony Oliva and Leo Cardenas.
Red Sox: 1B Hanley Ramirez, who injured his left wrist in a dugout stumble following Tuesday’s game at Seattle, was scheduled to swing a bat on Thursday. “Optimistically, hopefully he’d be available on the weekend when we get down to L.A. against the Dodgers,” manager John Farrell said.
Mariners: RHP Steve Cishek, who recently lost his closer role, was placed on the 15-day DL (retroactive to Aug. 2) with a left hip labrum tear, an injury that is not expected to require surgery. “I’m very hopeful that he’s back in our bullpen in 15 days,” manager Scott Servais said. … RHP Taijuan Walker, on the DL since July 6 with right foot tendinitis is expected to start Saturday against the Angels.
Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright (12-5, 3.20) gets the start Friday when Boston opens a three-game road series against the Dodgers. Wright was 4-0 in six starts in July, but had a 6.23 ERA in 34 2/3 innings over that span.
Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (5-4, 3.46 ERA) opens the three-game series against the Angels on Friday, the middle set of a three-series, 10-game homestand. Is 1-0 with a 5.60 ERA in three starts since coming off DL (right calf strain).
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