BOSTON — Having rallied twice to survive a wild 14-10 shootout on Friday night, the Boston Red Sox send a new ace to the mound in the second game of a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.
Eduardo Rodriguez, winner of six straight starts, is 9-1 on the season, with his team winning 13 of his 14 outings. He will be Boston’s starter Saturday and will face Mike Leake in a rematch of last Sunday’s Boston win in Seattle.
On a day an ABC News report broke that former Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez was involved in federal and state drug investigations, his former team spotted Seattle four runs in the first inning. The Red Sox immediately caught up and went ahead in the bottom of the first but then trailed 10-5 before charging back again.
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After their bats snoozed through the first two games in Minnesota, the Red Sox have scored 23 runs on 36 hits in the last two games — coming back Friday to hand the Mariners their fifth straight loss, including four on their current 10-game AL East road trip.
“It would be easy to give up in that kind of situation, just kind of coast through the game, but we kept fighting,” said Andrew Benintendi, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored in the win.
According to STATS, Friday’s game marked the first time since September 1945 that the Red Sox won a game in which they had a pitcher (Steven Wright) give up 10 or more earned runs.
The Mariners’ pitching failure wasted a two-homer, seven-RBI game by Nelson Cruz.
“It is disappointing,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “You’ve got a five-run lead, you think you’re in pretty good shape. They’ve got a good hitting ball club, but we didn’t execute, we didn’t pitch real well tonight and that’s what happens.”
The Red Sox cut the New York Yankees’ division lead to a game and now turn to Rodriguez, who has pitched to a 1.53 ERA during his winning streak, which was capped by his win in Seattle in his last start. In that game on Sunday, he gave up two runs on six hits and one walk over six innings in a 9-3 Boston victory.
His recent success has lowered his season ERA to 3.59.
Leake (7-4, 4.47 ERA), who is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five career starts against Boston, allowed eight hits and five earned runs in six innings last weekend — after five straight starts of allowing two runs or fewer. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in two career Fenway starts.
Rodriguez is 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners.
Game 2 of the series will take place with the physical status of the rival shortstops uncertain.
Seattle’s Jean Segura missed his second straight game with a forearm infection, while counterpart Xander Bogaerts left Friday night’s game with a sprained left index finger after diving into second on a stolen base.
“Jean actually saw a doctor this morning,” Servais said before Friday night’s game. “They tried to draw some of the infection out, but he’s still pretty sore. He’s not in the lineup tonight, of course.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Bogaerts is day-to-day and added Bogaerts was due for a day off Saturday night, anyway.
As you might have guessed from the 6.75 ERA in five starts against Boston, Red Sox hitters have strong numbers in their at-bats against Leake. Rafael Devers is 3-for-5 (.600) with a homer, Brock Holt 4-for-9 (.444), Bogaerts 5-for-12 (.417), Benintendi 3-for-8 (.375), J.D. Martinez 4-for-11 (.364) with a homer, and Mookie Betts 3-for-9 (.333). Eduardo Nunez is just 2-for-9 (.222).
For the Mariners, Dee Gordon is 4-for-5 (.800), Segura 3-for-6 (.500) and Ben Gamel 3-for-7 (.429) against Rodriguez, but Mitch Haniger is 0-for-6, Ryon Healy 1-for-12 (.083), Nelson Cruz 1-for-10 (.100), Guillermo Heredia 2-for-12 (.167) and Kyle Seager 2-for-9 (.222).
Both weekend games could be threatened by rain that is expected to be in the area throughout the weekend.