SEATTLE (AP) – Pinch hitter Kyle Schwarber netted a decisive three-run double in the eighth inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 8-4 on Tuesday night to keep pace in the competitive AL race.
Schwarber, out of the lineup in favor of Alex Verdugo, came in against reliever Drew Steckenrider with an eighth out and bases loaded. His brace on the right ended a tense standoff with the Mariners, who beat the Red Sox 5-4 on Monday with the help of Schwarber’s field error.
Verdugo added a two-run homerun in Boston’s next batting game against Yohan Ramirez.
The win kept the Red Sox percentage points behind the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays for the AL’s two wildcard spots. Seattle has fallen three games back.
Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi, who struck out nine in the game, said the series made it look like the playoffs had already started.
“I feel like it is,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, you know what I mean?” I feel like everyone is exhausted after the game.
“Everyone is concentrating, everyone is fighting, squealing,” he added. “It was a great team victory for sure.”
Adam Ottavino (6-3) recorded the last of the seventh inning for the win, which came after a six-game losing streak for the Red Sox. Eovaldi pitched five innings, leaving the game tied at 2.
Xander Bogaerts tripled the wall in right field to start the eighth inning, chasing reliever Joe Smith (2-4). Steckenrider came in tied with teammate Casey Sadler for the AL’s longest active scoreless streak at 18 1/3 innings, but he accompanied Rafael Devers to put the runners in the corners. After a forced out, he ran through loaded bases after starting with two strikes to pinch hitter Travis Shaw.
Cora said he had no qualms about going to Schwarber, who struggled at home plate but struck before the game into the inside and outside batting cages.
“These guys did an amazing job behind (Bogaerts),” said Boston manager Alex Cora. “Travis with the goal, then Kyle staying on ground and hitting a brace. It was a great victory. The one we obviously needed. We know where we are and we know where they are and everyone. It was a great victory. “
The outing was a rare failure for the Seattle relievers’ box, one of the most successful units in the major leagues this year. Reliever Anthony Misiewicz also allowed a home run, allowing Seattle native Bobby Dalbec to tie him at 2 in the sixth after inheriting a one point lead from starter Tyler Anderson.
Smith took some of the blame for allowing Bogaerts’ long triple, putting Steckenrider in a difficult position.
“These guys threw some really good hitters against one of our best,” said Smith.
It was Boston’s 42nd victory this year.
Boston’s JD Martinez hit his 26th home run to open the scoring in the fourth inning. The Mariners responded late in the inning with back-to-back hits from Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager. Hunter Renfroe then dropped Ty France’s high ball into right field to score Haniger and tie him to 1. Jake Fraley scored 2-1 later in the set with a sacrifice fly.
HUNDRED OF HANIGER
Haniger scored his 100th point of the season in the fourth inning. He is the first Mariners player to score so many since Robinson Cano was 107 in 2016.
Red Sox: The team reinstated LHP Martin Pérez from the COVID-19 injured list and fired RHP Kaleb Ort at Triple-A Worcester. … Manager Alex Cora has said starting pitcher Chris Sale could return to the squad on Friday and start against the Baltimore Orioles if he’s activated in time. Otherwise, it would start on Saturday. Cora said the team sent an artificial mound to Sale’s home and he was able to keep his arm in shape while still seated. It last launched on September 6. … OF Jarren Duran and INF Christian Arroyo, as Sale among nine players dealing with COVID-19 protocols, train in Worcester. If all goes well, they could return to the squad soon.
Mariners: Fraley (inflammation of the right shoulder) was activated from the casualty list and started in left field. Fraley has been out since August 28. … RHP Justin Dunn (right shoulder inflammation) feels well enough to rehab after two mock games, manager Scott Servais said. The team has not yet scheduled the appearance, however. The starter will go to the Mariners reliever pen if he is able to return before the end of the season.
Red Sox: RHP Tanner Houck (0-4, 3.54) seeks his first win as he ends the series with Seattle.
Mariners: Marco Gonzales (8-5, 4.03) has won his last seven decisions, a career best streak.
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