Final, Mariners Win 2-1: Well, the pitching did a heck of a job, but the offense lets the Red Sox down again. In reality, Cody Ross has been the only hitter for Boston who's put up much of anything over the past two games, hitting the three-run home run on Tuesday, and knocking the only RBI for the Sox in this one.
With the win, the Mariners improve their record to 67-71, while the Red Sox fall to 63-75, going 1-8 on their nine-game West Coast road trip.
Kevin Millwood (5-12) gets the win, while Aaron Cook (3-9) gets saddled with the loss with Tom Wilhelmsen picks up his 24th save of the season.
Well, that's it for us from your Red Sox Live Blog. Boston's off on Thursday but will (finally) be back in the friendly confines of Fenway to open a series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
End 8th, Mariners 2-1: Again, Aceves does the job for Boston, preserving the one-run deficit.
So now, on to the ninth inning! As the Red Sox try to make up that one run and steal another game, and the series, from the Mariners.
Mid 8th, Mariners 2-1: Yet again, the Red Sox leave the tying run in scoring position, as Loney strikes out to end the top of the eighth. Even Ross couldn't get the job done, grounding out with one out in the inning.
Considering the lineup can still boast Ross, Ellsbury and Pedroia on a daily basis, the offensive fall-off might be a bit surprising — even with the losses of Middlebrooks, Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez. But whatever the reason, the Red Sox offense has mostly just been stymied along the Left Coast.
End 7th, Mariners 2-1: So the combination of Andrew Miller and Alfredo Aceves gets the Red Sox through that inning and keeps it close.
Moreover, it's just kind of nice to see Aceves out on the mound without a major incident, as some of his behavior last week was just bizarre to say the least.
Really now, the onus is absolutely on the Boston offense to put something together and support their pitching.
Mid 7th, Mariners 2-1: Does anyone else think "Furbush" is actually an apt description of Brendan Ryan's facial hair?
Either way, the Red Sox again fail to take advantage of an opportunity with a runner in scoring position. Cook's done his job, limiting the damage against him to two runs over six innings, but the offense just hasn't been able to support him with much of anything. Take Cody Ross out of the equation, and this road trip would be even far more ugly than it is.
End 6th, Mariners 2-1: So it looks like Millwood is about done on the night.
Solid outing for him, as he goes six innings yielding just a single run on four hits, throwing 92 pitches.
Likewise, with cook at 93 pitches himself, it'll be interesting to see if the Sox try to extend him for one more frame.
Mid 6th, Mariners 2-1: Although the Red Sox have finally stolen a game on the West Coast, Cody Ross has been about the only offense the Sox have provided over the past 26 hours or so.
Overall, Ross has been the only nice surprise in a season which has just been disappointing for the Sox. The outfielder may be among the streakiest hitters in baseball, but he's been arguably Boston's most consistently productive hitter, when you consider the time missed by the likes of David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks.
End 5th, Mariners 2-0: Nice bounce-back inning for Cook there, who gives up a single to Thames, but even that ball was on the ground up the middle.
Moreover, it was a return to the quick pace that we like to see from Cook, who is at his best when he gets into a steady rhythm. The bullpen should be back to some sense of normalcy after being work out for much of the seven-game losing streak, but it would only be a positive if the veteran could give them some more innings at 85 pitches.
Mid 5th, Mariners 2-0: That's five shutout inning thus far for Millwood, who's doing nothing fancy but just enough to keep the Sox hitters off balance.
Like always, Millwood is just working off his fastball to get ahead in the count early, then relying on the offspeed stuff as a secondary option. That's the kind of game plan which should be easy to adjust to, but then again, if a pitcher's htting his spots then hitters are usually at their mercy.
End 4th, Mariners 2-0: This seems like it's been Cook's M.O. lately: be rolling along just fine with little sign of trouble and then run into a wholly tough inning.
This time, however, Cook at least managed to limit the damage, getting back to his game and inducing a couple ground balls to Loney over at first base.
Mid 4th, 0-0: A night after blasting the game-winning home run, Lavarnway has now left four men on base, ground into a double play with one out and runners at the corners in the second, and just now grounding out to third with the bases loaded.
It might be considered a little unfair to Lavarnway to bat him in the DH role, given that it's likely something he's never been asked to do before. Someone like David Ortiz, for instance, is the exception to the rule, but even veterans often have difficulty adjusting to batting four times a game without playing in the field to stay warm, much less a rookie.
End 3rd, 0-0: Cook actually looks like he's leaving the ball further up in the zone, but it hasn't mattered thus far.
That's because through three innings Cook has struck out five Mariners, which is very, very unusual for the veteran right-hander. Rather, Cook's M.O. is to avoid both walks and strikeouts, preferring to induce early-count groundouts. That's the advantage of a sinkerball pitcher: economy of pitches.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Just a reminder folks, with football season now upon us and the Patriots about to kick off on Sunday, today's NESN Daily poll asks which new addition on defense will have the biggest impact during the season.
With several new names to choose them, you can make your voice heard by clicking the above link and voting. Either way, the Titans will have a lot on their hands on Sunday.
End 2nd, 0-0: You've just got to love watching Cook pitch — when he's on, at least.
The Red Sox have been known in recent years to carry pitchers who take a lot of time in between pitches. However, Cook's just the opposite, working with a Mark Buehrle-like pace that's characteristic of sinkerball pitchers. It helps keep the infielders fresh and on their toes.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Well, Lavarnway can't come up with the early heroics in this one, but we'll give him a pass after his big blast Tuesday night.
Aside from that, who heard about Bobby Valentine's controversial radio comments earlier today? Well, we don't delve into it too deeply, but it's just a reminder that all these guys really care about how this season has unfolded. No one's "checked out," and anyone who suggest otherwise really doesn't have much of an understanding about professional athletes — or professional coaches.
Manny Ramirez, on the other hand, that may be a rare case where the opposite was true.
End 1st, 0-0: We've already scouted Cook a bit, so let's look across to the other dugout and Millwood.
Like Cook, little about Millwood's game has changed over the years. He still features the same repertoire of a fastball, slider, curveball and a changeup that he almost exclusively throws against left-handed hitters. At this point he's largely just a back-end of the rotation innings-eater, but if his command is good on any particular night he's still capable of being very effective.
Mid 1st, 0-0: So, what to expect from Cook tonight.
Last time I spoke with him, Cook admitted that his game plan is the same in 2012 as it's been throughout the entirety of his career. What that means is Cook lives and dies with the sinker, and if he's getting good downward action on it and keeping it down in the zone, then he's going to be successful. However, if it gets up… then you'll see more of his last time out against Oakland.
10:10 p.m.: We have first pitch! And, for those wondering, the gametime temperature is again 70 degrees with 51 percent humidity and winds from the northwest at seven miles per hour.
9:20: The Red Sox largely seem to be alternating from night to night between a more veteran lineup and one featuring the likes of Jose Iglesias — geared towards 2013 and beyond (that's a phrase we've used a lot lately).
And tonight's one of the games that features the veterans, with James Loney at first base, Mike Aviles at shortstop and Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate. Ryan Lavarnway, however, does get to see some at-bats again as the DH a night after delivering the game-winning home run.
Check out the lineups for both teams below:
Scott Podsednik, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Cody Ross, RF
James Loney, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Mike Aviles, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Aaron Cook, RHP
Dustin Ackley, 2B
Trayvon Robinson, LF
Kyle Seager, 3B
John Jaso, C
Jesus Montero, DH
Eric Thames, RF
Mike Carp, 1B
Casper Wells, CF
Brendan Ryan, SS
Kevin Millwood, RHP
8:10 p.m. ET: So how good does it feel to be coming off a win?
There's lots of odd stuff still going on in Red Sox Nation, including manager Bobby Valentine's somewhat combative interview with WEEI earlier today, but winning a game and snapping the team's seven-game skid will likely do a lot to relieve some of the immediate tensions surrounding the organization.
So, what's next? Well, winning two in a row would be the obvious reply, and to start a winning streak in earnest the Red Sox turn to right-handed sinkerballer Aaron Cook (3-8, 5.35). The 33-year-old veteran was roughed up pretty well in August to the tune of a 1-4 record and 6.46 ERA, and was one of the culprits during the Sox' losing streak, lasting just 2 2/3 innings while yielding seven hits and six runs his last time out. However, in a June 29 start at Safeco Field, Cook threw an 81-pitch, two-hit shutout masterpiece, so he'll be looking to repeat that success in Seattle.
Cook will be opposed by another longtime Major Leaguer, 16-year and seven-organization veteran Kevin Millwood (4-12, 4.36). The 37-year-old's strikeout rate (101 in 150 innings pitched) may suggest declining stuff, but despite the overall win-loss record, Millwood has been a pretty consistent contributor this season. The ironic stat in Millwood's like might be that he's fared better away from the pitching-friendly confines of Safeco, yielding a very tenable .264 opponents' batting average on the road, compared to his .293 mark in the Pacific Northwest.
First pitch is schedule for 10:10 p.m., but you can tune into NESN beginning at 9 p.m. with Red Sox First Pitch. Or you can just stick right here with NESN.com, as this very live blog will have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, "all the stats and stories" over the next couple hours.
You can also follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB.