Cook, who hasn't had the best luck in Boston this season, seems to have carved himself out a nice little role in the rotation and showed off his best stuff in a two-hit performance against the Mariners.
Will Middlebrooks, Cody Ross and Daniel Nava blasted three home runs in the fifth inning to get the Red Sox rolling with a 3-0 lead. Jarrod Saltalamacchia added to the lead with a big two-run bomb to left in the sixth to solidify the lead and give Cook a sweet lead to rely on as he finished dealing.
That marks Cook's first shutout since 2009 and his first complete game since the 2010 season — both with the Rockies.
Mid 9th Inning, Red Sox 5-0: The Red Sox put together yet another little rally in the top of the ninth, but after loading the bases a Dustin Pedroia liner just couldn't escape the speed of Ichiro.
Middlebrooks picked up his second hit of the night with a single and Aviles drove a swooping double into shallow right field. Daniel Nava found his way on for the second time on the night as well, only further solidifying his case as the Sox leadoff man.
Now, it's time for Cook to close things out and secures his first shutout in nearly three years (2009).
End 8th Inning, Red Sox 5-0: Sinker? More like Riser, because that's what Cook's been doing on the Red Sox depth chart all night.
Cook has now worked eight innings on Friday, giving up only two hits and throwing a mere 73 pitches.
His sinker has been nasty, fastball has shown movement and his curveball has been surprisingly effective.
A few more outings even showing an inkling of this, and Cook could find his way into the rotation, permanently.
Mid 8th Inning, Red Sox 5-0: Oliver Perez came on in relief during the eighth and shut down the Red Sox bats in order, 1-2-3.
The relievers have been solid for the Seattle on Friday, working three blemish free innings and not even allowing a baserunner.
If Cook's dominance continues on the mound, then this one could be over in a flash, though. We're barely two hours in and already into the Bottom of the eight. Potentially the quickest game of the season — cheer!
End 7th Inning, Red Sox 5-0: Cook is now through seven innings and it seems that he's almost unhittbale — here's looking at your Ichiro.
Cook has thrown just 64 pitches in the outing and allowed a single hit through the outstanding performance.
With two innings left, Cook could be looking at not only a complete game but a shutout that takes less than 100 pitches to complete.
Now, if he keeps that up consistently and it might just be worthy of consideration in your starting rotation… never count him out.
Mid 7th Inning, Red Sox 5-0: Kelly just flew through the Red Sox batters in the top half of the seventh.
Pedroia was one of those three outs, flying out harmlessly to right field. That leaves Pedey 0-for-3 during this slugfest and it's now been 155 plate appearances since his last home run. That's quite the streak even for a guy only capable of 20-25 homers a year.
Yikes, let's pop something over the fence there, and soon, Pedey.
End 6th Inning, Red Sox 5-0: Even and error can't stop Aaron Cook.
Cook recorded another quick inning, sitting down three straight after a Mike Aviles error put the second runner of the night on the basepaths.
After making a few stellar plays earlier in the game, Aviles made his seventh error of the season on a tough hopping grounder up the middle.
Mid 6th Inning, Red Sox 5-0: Salty's getting in on the action now.
Too bad it couldn't have been Papi, but another deep drive to left results in Salty's 15th home run of the year.
Salty already has 15 home runs before the All-Star break this year, sitting at just one short of his 2011 total (16). That should give AL All-Star manager Ron Washington something to consider heading into the big weekend.
That's four homers in this one against Noesi, and he gets the hook after five-plus innings on the hill. Shawn Kelly, who is coming off tommy john surgery in 2011, took the mound in relief.
End 5th Inning, Red Sox 3-0: Seattle still hasn't found an answer to their Cook problem.
The Red Sox starter has been sensational in this one, using his sinker to decimate hitters' confidence and induce a high level of groundouts — now 11-for-15.
His curveball looked nasty in the fifth as well, buckling the knees of catcher John Jaso and getting his second strikeout of the night.
Mid 5th Inning, Red Sox 3-0: Will Middlebrooks looks to be breaking out of his post-Youkilis slump. And Cody Ross is following suit. Daniel Nava too, apparently!
After going 1-for-16 since the Youk trade, Middlebrooks took Noesi deep to left field to put the Sox on top 1-0.
But Ross followed two pitches later with an upper-deck shot of his own to make it 2-0.
Then just as it appeared that Noesi was settling back in, Nava blasted his own bomb over the right field fence for his third jack of the year.
Middlebrooks home run is his 10th of the season and for Ross it was the 12th.
The 3-0 lead should be plenty given the way that Cook has been dealing in this one.
Watch out: Seattle!
End 4th Inning, 0-0: This may be one of the quickest Red Sox games I've ever watched.
Now, I don't want to jynx anything here but four innings in less than one hour of play is pretty impressive.
Aaron Cook's efficiency with the sinker has been a big part of that, too. Cook has thrown just 31 pitches over four innings of work and has been dealing with the sinker.
After forcing a groundout double play, Cook also induced Kyle Seager to end the inning on a grounder. That means he's recorded nine of 12 outs by way of the ground ball. Quite impressive!
Mid 4th Inning, 0-0: We're still Scoreless from Seattle — I smell Oscar!
David Ortiz nearly smacked his 400th career home run in the fourth, but it turned out to be just feet shy of clearing the fence at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Dustin Pedroia was plunked to start the inning, but even a big Papi blast to left couldn't put any runs on the board for the Sox.
That's 13 straight innings that Sox have gone without a run in Seattle. To be seen whether Cody Ross and crew can get it going as this one rolls on.
End 3rd Inning, 0-0: The old Aaron cook sinkerball is in full effect on Friday night.
Cook has sat down the entirety of the Mariners lineup in order in the first time through, inducing six groundball outs in the process.
There hasn't been a whiff of a baserunner thus far, and it would be great to keep Aaron cooking — see what I did there — through the next round of hitters as well.
A total of 26 pitches in three innings is a solid performance and may even get Cook looking at a complete game in this one — but not quite yet!
Mid 3rd Inning, 0-0: Ryan Kalish comes through with the first hit of the night for either side, hoping to set a spark for the Sox offense.
Not so much.
Kalish got on base with one out in the inning, but a Mike Aviles flyout followed by a Nava groundout ended any hopes of a threat.
The Sox are now just 6-for-41 in their 12 innings against the Mariners. It looks like Hernandez and now Noesi are just getting the best of the Boston bats in this series.
We can only hope that Cook can hold onto his efficient performance long enough to let Pedroia and Ortiz hopefully get something going for the Sox.
End 2nd Inning, 0-0: Another quick inning from Cook, and the Red Sox are rolling in the field.
Mike Aviles flashed some leather with a couple pretty plays in the second. He may have had a bad rap for his defensive play coming into this year, but he's really developed as a solid defender throughout the season.
Cook's thrown just 14 pitches in his two innings of work and could be looking to hold the Boston bullpen from making any early appearances tonight.
Mid 2nd Inning, 0-0: Will Middlebrooks gave the ball along with the Sox offense a ride on a flyball all the way to the warning track, but no dice.
Salty, Gonzalez and Middlebrooks all fall victim to flyball outs and Noesi is able to escape the second inning throwing but a few pitches.
The Red Sox really need to sit back on some of Noesi's stuff if they hope to be effective on Friday. Noesi doesn't have the greatest command and if he throws enough pitches could really make some big mistakes.
End 1st Inning, 0-0: Aaron Cook makes quick work of the Mariners in the first.
Cook looked poised on the mound, getting three quick outs on a mere six pitches in the inning.
The 33-year-old Cook looks to be finally settling in with the Red Sox and appears to be showing off the valuable arm the Sox thought they were picking up during the offseason.
Let's see if he can keep up this efficient rate and maybe make it through six innings this time.
Mid 1st Inning, 0-0: A Dustin Pedroia walk couldn't get the Red Sox offense rolling in the first.
After a well-hit ball to center from Daniel Nava went for an out, Pedey drew the walk. But to no avail, as David Ortiz hit into a routine 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Hector Noesi doesn't have the best command in the world, but when his breaking ball is working he can certainly turn in a lot of groundouts.
The Boston bats will need to do something to get their offense rolling, especially after Felix Hernandez shut them down over nine innings on Thursday.
10 p.m.: The Red Sox are ready to get things rolling out in Seattle.
But if you want to get your mind right on the Seattle skyline, then check out a little tour of the space needle that NESN's Jenny Dell did during the day on Friday.
9:45 p.m.: Rehab update!
Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford took part in some Gulf Cost League action on Friday.
Ellsbury looked solid at the plate, going 1-for-4 with a double. Meanwhile, Crawford continues to struggle at the dish in rehab, going 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and a strikeout on Friday.
Crawford is now jsut 2-for-11 in his return to game action.
Both players have been making positive strides on the field, though. Ellsbury looks to be picking up the pace fairly easily and could be ready for a return right after the All-Star break. Crawford, on the other hand, has some work to do still but that's mainly due in part to his absence during spring training.
Both players will continue to work in the GCL over the weekend, but look for Ells to get bumped up fairly quickly if his bat speed continues to show at a high level.
8 p.m.: The Red Sox suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Mariners in their West Coast opener on Thursday night. But Daniel Nava will be looking to get Boston back on track early in Seattle on Friday.
Nava will be leading things off for the Sox offense for the 17th time this season, and he's been very effective from the top spot so far. The 29-year-old outfielder has hit .306 with 13 RBIs and .403 OBP in 73 plate appearances out of the No. 1 hole.
Check out the full lineups for both teams, below.
Red Sox (40-36)
Daniel Nava, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Cody Ross, RF
Ryan Kalish, CF
Mike Aviles, SS
Aaron Cook, RHP
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Casper Wells, CF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Jesus Montero, DH
John Jaso, C
Justin Smoak, 1B
Dustin Ackley, 2B
Chone Figgins, LF
B.J. Ryan, SS
Hector Noesi, RHP
8 a.m.: The Red Sox took a tough loss on the chin on Thursday night, losing to the Mariners on a walkoff single in the ninth inning. But Dustin Pedroia, who has been hot at the dish over the past week, is looking to turn around the Sox attack in the second game of the weekend series.
Pedroia's not the only one looking to stay hot, though. David Ortiz has ben on a tear over the past 10 games, going 11-for-36 and slugging six home runs during the stretch. But Ortiz is staring down history as he searches for his 22nd home run of the 2012 season in Seattle. Big Papi is now sitting on home run No. 399 for his career with the opportunity to eclipse the 400 mark with his next longball.
Ortiz won't be up against the toughtest challenge in Hector Noesi (2-9, 5.50 ERA) on Friday night, but he'll still need to remain focused on pulling out the feat while also helping the Sox get back to their winning ways.
Aaron Cook (1-1, 9.39) will take the hill for the Sox coming off his best outing of the season last weekend in a 9-4 win against the Braves.
First pitch will be at 10:05 p.m. on NESN, but tune in to the pregame show with Tom Caron starting at 9 p.m.