Baseball / Sports

Mariners rally with five runs in ninth to defeat Red Sox

BOSTON -- The Mariners were one out away from defeat. It's a game they should have lost. For eight innings, they were inept offensively and poised to lose their fourth game of the trip to a team that had waved the white flag on this season long ago. Yet for all the Red Sox's problems and failures this season, they were still 44-0 this season when taking a lead into the ninth inning.

Now they are 44-1.

Down 3-0 and facing Red Sox All-Star closer Koji Uehara, the Mariners scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally for an improbable 5-3 win, stunning the crowd of 36,433 at Fenway Park.

With two outs and a runner on first, Endy Chavez drew his third walk of the game -- something he'd never done in career. Pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia flared a single into right field to load the bases and bring Austin Jackson to the plate.

Jackson had stranded five runners in the game, popping up to second with bases loaded to end the fifth. But this time he delivered, double off the Green Monster in left to score two runs. Ackley followed with a blooper to left field that landed between shortstop Brock Holt and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs.

Robinson Cano added an RBI single that scored Ackley all the way from first, thanks to a gutty send by third-base coach Rich Donnelly and a pretty slide from Ackley for a much-needed insurance run.

Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth for his 37th save.

The ninth inning rally erased a frustrating sixth inning started off with a bad break and it ended with a bomb. Cespedes' towering three-run home run off Felix Hernandez that carried over the Green Monster and out of Fenway Park, probably landing somewhere on the Mass Turnpike, looked like it would be the difference in the game.

Hernandez was cruising along, delivering his normal pitching goodness. Sure he wasn't as efficient as he'd been in past starts, but he still hadn't allowed in run in the first five innings. But it all started derail in the sixth inning when the second-base bag got in the way. Daniel Nava's bouncing ball up the middle bounced off the bag and into the outfield allowing him to hustle it into a double. It was the first time Hernandez had allowed a leadoff runner to reach base in the game.

Could it have been fielded by Cano? Probably not. But it removed the chance for a double play and put Hernandez in damage control mode.

Dustin Pedroia moved Nava to third with a ground ball to second base. With a bag open and David Ortiz already 2-for-2 in the game and 17 for his last 32, manager Lloyd McClendon opted to intentionally walk him and face Cespedes in hopes of getting a double play. In a similar situation in the first inning, Hernandez was able to get Cespedes to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

But not this time.

After getting to a 2-2 count on Cespedes, Hernandez couldn't put him away. Cespedes fouled off a fastball and two changeups before sitting on a changeup up in the zone and blasting his 21st homer of the season.

Hernandez never made it out of the sixth. He left with two outs and 116 pitches, having allowed five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. It was the first time he allowed more than two runs in a start since May 2. But he lost his second straight decision, falling to 13-4. Brandon Maurer got the final out of the inning.

And that's all the Red Sox would get or need.

The Mariners' offensive highlights for the night consisted of drawing seven walks, which was more than the three hits they mustered.

For about 10 minutes in the fourth inning the Mariners had a run and a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Kendrys Morales lined out to center field off Red Sox starter Joe Kelly. Mookie Betts made a diving play on the liner, but third-base umpire Pat Hoberg ruled that Betts didn't make the catch. Dustin Ackley, who was on second base, seemed confused as to what happened. After reaching third, Ackley made a delayed break home. Betts not sure what to do, fired home and it sailed over the head of catcher Christian Vazquez, allowing Ackley slide in easily.

Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to challenge the ruling on the field. After a few minutes of replay review, the umpires reversed the call, saying Betts had made the catch. It ended the inning.

(c)2014 The Seattle Times

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