SEATTLE -- Dustin Ackley wouldn't give in.
Sure there were harder hit balls on the night that led to more runs -- specifically a pair of home runs from Logan Morrison, who went 4 for 4 with four RBI in his best game as a Mariner.
Yet it was his Ackley's tenacious at-bat against Red Sox starter John Lackey that propelled the Mariners to a lead that continued to swell into an eventual 12-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night at Safeco Field. It was the fourth straight win for the Mariners (41-36).
It all started in the fourth inning.
The Mariners had just tied the game at 2-2 on Kyle Seager's RBI single to right that scored Robinson Cano.
An irritated and inconsistent Lackey began a slow implosion that would end his start. He gave up a groundball single to Logan Morrison that he felt should have been caught by his shifted defense, angrily yelling at second baseman Dustin Pedroia and Stephen Drew when they failed to come up with it. Lackey then walked Mike Zunino to load the bases, bringing Ackley to the plate.
Lackey got up 1-2 after Ackley fouled off back-to-back pitches. From there Lackey tried to put Ackley away with a strike out.
But it never happened. Ackley wouldn't allow it.
He didn't chase on a pitch in the dirt, fouled five pitches off in a row, ignored another curveball out of the zone and then fouled off two more pitches.
On the 13th pitch of the marathon at-bat, Ackley hit a hard ground ball to first base that was gloved by Napoli and fired to second for an out. It might have been a double play. But for some reason, Lackey didn't cover first base. Ackley sprinted across the bag and the go-ahead run scored.
Had Lackey covered first base, the inning might have been over.
It wasn't and it only got worse for him. He walked Brad Miller and gave up a single to Willie Bloomquist to load the bases again.
The ageless Endy Chavez unloaded them with one swing. Lackey hung a curveball and Chavez hammered it over the head of right-fielder Brock Holt, who froze for a second, and then tried to make a retreating, leaping grab to no avail. It ended Lackey's night.
He gave up seven runs on seven with two walks, three strikeouts and a wild pitch in 32/3 innings of work.
The six-run fourth inning put the Mariners up 7-2. From there, they turned the game into a rout against the Boston bullpen, scoring a plethora of runs for starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, perhaps an attempt to make up for the recent run of anemic offensive outings with their ace on the hill.
Hernandez was his typical self, pitching seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
It was the eighth straight start that he pitched seven or more innings and allowed two or fewer runs. It broke the record of seven he shared with Randy Johnson. It wasn't his most dominant outing of the season. He gave up a run in the first inning on Mike Napoli's RBI double.
The Mariners tied the game in the second on Morrison's first homer of the night and third of the season -- a towering blast deep into right field.
But Hernandez gave up his first home run in 12 starts when Napoli hit one just over the left field wall to with one out in the fourth inning.
Given the 7-2 lead after four innings, Hernandez worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning and allowed just two more hits the rest of the way to improve to 9-2 on the season.
Meanwhile, his teammates just kept scoring runs for him. They added another run in the fifth on Morrison's RBI single.
And in the seventh when it was clear his night was over, they added four more. Cano and Seager had back-to-back RBI singles and Morrison blasted a two-run homer over the wall in center field.
The 12 runs scored tied a season high. They also scored 12 runs in a Hernandez start against the Rays on May 12 at Safeco Field.
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