Final, Red Sox 5-4: It wasn’t as easy as it usually is, but Koji Uehara retires the Mariners in the ninth to close out a win for the Red Sox.
Uehara allowed a single to Kyle Seager and walked Logan Morrison, but he rebounded to strike out Mike Zunino and induce a game-ending groundout off the bat of Dustin Ackley.
The victory allowed the Sox to avoid a three-game sweep and gave Clay Buchholz a win in his first start since returning from the disabled list.
The Red Sox now travel to New York, where they’ll open a three-game set at Yankee Stadium on Friday.
Thanks for joining me tonight, everyone. And, oh yeah: Go USA!
Mid 9th, Red Sox 5-4: Brandon Maurer works a perfect ninth. Koji Uehara will look to close this one out for the Sox.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-4: Andrew Miller faces two pinch hitters — Willie Bloomquist and Cole Gillespie — and strikes out both.
We head to the ninth with the Red Sox holding a one-run lead.
Bottom 8th, Red Sox 5-4: A largely successful outing by Clay Buchholz ends on a sour note.
Brad Miller smoked Buchholz’s first pitch of the eighth inning into the seats in right-center field — the third home run the right-hander has allowed tonight.
John Farrell stuck with Buchholz for one more batter — Stefen Romero, who got good wood on a hit that Jonny Gomes dove to catch in left field — before calling Andrew Miller in from the bullpen.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-3: Brandon Maurer took over on the mound in the eighth and proceeded to mow down the Red Sox.
Maurer allowed a two-out single to A.J. Pierzynski but struck out the other three batters he faced, including Jonny Gomes, who now has been punched out four times tonight.
Clay Buchholz will head back out to pitch the eighth with just 74 pitches under his belt.
End 7th, Red Sox 5-3: Clay Buchholz completes his sixth scoreless inning and picks up his first two punchouts in the process.
Buchholz, with the Red Sox’s bullpen active, struck out Logan Morrison and Mike Zunino before getting Dustin Ackley to fly out to center to end the frame.
If this was his last inning, the Red Sox have to be pleased with his performance.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-3: Tom Wilhelmsen has done a nice job of settling things down here for the Mariners.
Wilhelmsen got Jackie Bradley Jr. to ground to first and struck out Brock Holt before surrendering a single to Daniel Nava — Nava’s third base hit in as many plate appearances since flying out back in the first.
First base was as far as Nava would advance, though, as Dustin Pedroia popped out to shortstop Brad Miller to end the inning.
End 6th, Red Sox 5-3: The Mariners put runners on for the first time since the second inning, but a well-timed double play keeps them off the board.
Endy Chavez grounded a base hit into right field, and James Jones sent a rocket at Stephen Drew that the shortstop could not handle to put men of first and second with no outs.
Robinson Cano flied out to Daniel Nava in right for the first out, and Kyle Seager, who homered off Clay Buchholz for Seattle’s first run, sent a grounder straight up the middle that Drew turned into an inning-ending twin killing.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-3: A bit of ill-advised baserunning leaves the Red Sox off the basepaths in the sixth.
A.J. Pierzynski looped a bloop single into left field to lead off the inning, but Dustin Ackley cut him down trying to stretch it into a double. It was the catcher’s second hit of the road trip, and his first since Game 1 of the Oakland series last Thursday.
Xander Bogaerts then struck out, and Stephen Drew grounded out to short to close out the frame.
End 5th, Red Sox 5-3: The Mariners go down in order again in the fifth.
Clay Buchholz needed just nine pitches to retire Dustin Ackley, Brad Miller and Stefen Romero, and he looks to be in great shape after that shaky second inning.
The bottom half of the Boston order, which largely has struggled at the plate tonight, will try add to Boston’s lead in the sixth.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 5-3: The Red Sox add another run, but the inning could have gone much worse for the Mariners.
David Ortiz, batting with the bases loaded and no outs, grounded into a double play. Shortstop Brad Miller, who was playing on the right side of second base as part of the Ortiz shift, fielded the grounder and took it to second himself before firing to first to nab Ortiz.
Jonny Gomes then struck out swinging for the third time tonight to end the inning.
Top 5th, Red Sox 4-3: Hisashi Iwakuma’s night is done.
The Mariners starter allowed singles to Brock Holt and Daniel Nava and walked Dustin Pedroia to load the bases with nobody out in the fifth.
That was enough for manager Lloyd McClendon, who calls in right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen from the bullpen with David Ortiz coming to the plate.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-3: If you leave out the second inning, Clay Buchholz is having a very nice outing. He retired the side in order again in the fourth — well, sort of.
Daniel Nava nearly made a highlight-reel grab to rob Kyle Seager in right field, but the ball popped out of his glove at the last moment. Seager made a late decision to stretch his single into a double, though, and Nava was able to recover in time to nail him at second for the first out.
Logan Morrison and Mike Zunino then flied out in consecutive at-bats to end the inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-3: Hisashi Iwakuma gets through the fourth inning without incident, retiring the side in order.
Xander Bogaerts flied out to the warning track in left, Stephen Drew grounded out to first and Jackie Bradley Jr. flied to center to end the inning.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-3: First-inning Clay Buchholz returned in the third, inducing three straight popups to set down the Mariners’ Nos. 1, 2 and 3 hitters in order.
Though he hung a few pitches in the second, Buchholz isn’t having any trouble finding the strike zone. He’s thrown 25 of his 33 pitches for strikes.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-3: We might have a barnburner on our hands.
Hisashi Iwakuma did not look particularly strong here in the third, allowing three consecutive hits to open the inning.
Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a double to right center field, and Brock Holt and Daniel Nava followed with base hits. Nava’s single up the middle scored Bradley from third, tying this game up at three runs apiece.
Dustin Pedroia flied out to right for the first out of the inning, but David Ortiz then put the Red Sox back ahead with his third RBI of the night.
Hisashi fell behind Ortiz 3-0 and probably should have walked him, as his fourth pitch looked to be a little too low-and-outside. It was called a strike, though, and Ortiz went on to line a long single over the glove of Stefen Romero in right field to bring Holt home.
Iwakuma struck out Jonny Gomes and A.J. Pierzynski to end the inning.
End 2nd, Mariners 3-2: So this Kyle Seager kid can really rake, huh?
Seager continued to crush Red Sox pitching, blasting a solo homer to center field off Clay Buchholz to cut the Mariners’ deficit to 2-1. The 26-year-old now is 6-for-10 with two home runs, seven RBIs and five runs scored in the series.
The M’s weren’t done, though. Logan Morrison followed with a single up the middle, and Mike Zunino got a hold of a Buchholz cutter and deposited it over the left field fence, giving Seattle a 3-2 lead.
Buchholz rebounded to retire the next three batters in order, but this is not a promising start.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Nothing doing for the Red Sox, whom Hisashi Iwakuma retires in order with three groundouts to the right side of the infield.
A.J. Pierzynski, Xander Bogaerts and Stephen Drew are the victims.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz has no problem getting through the first, as Endy Chavez, James Jones and Robinson Cano fail to hit the ball out of the infield.
Chavez and Jones grounded out to Buchholz and Brock Holt, respectively, and Cano lined out to Stephen Drew, who made a nice leaping grab to rob the former Yankee of a base hit.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz has a two-run cushion before he even hits the mound.
Dustin Pedroia beat out an infield single with two outs against Hisashi Iwakuma, and David Ortiz followed by blasting a two-run home run off the right field foul pole to give the Red Sox an early lead.
Leadoff man Brock Holt saw eight pitches from Iwakuma before grounding out to shortstop, and Daniel Nava saw just three before lofting an easy fly ball to center field.
After surrendering Ortiz’s bomb, Iwakuma struck out Jonny Gomes on three pitches to end the inning.
Buchholz will see Chavez, James Jones and Robinson Cano here in the first. Cano was particularly bothersome to the right-hander during his days with the Yankees — he’s a career .375 hitter (12-for-32) with four doubles and a homer against Buchholz.
10:10 p.m.: Hisashi Iwakuma’s first pitch to Brock Holt is high for ball one, and we are underway in the Emerald City.
Holt, Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia will be the first to bat against the Mariners starter, who is looking to bounce back after a rough start against the Royals last Friday.
8:15 p.m.: A few notes from manager John Farrell’s pregame news conference, some more noteworthy than others:
— Mike Napoli is not in the starting lineup because he is dealing with some lingering soreness in his toe. Brock Holt will start at first base — his first time seeing action at the position since June 7 — but Napoli will be available as a pinch hitter.
— Though Clay Buchholz’s return gives the Red Sox a glut of starting pitchers, Farrell said the plan “for now” is to have Jake Peavy make his next scheduled start. Peavy was roughed up in Tuesday’s loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits (including two home runs) and two walks in five innings. Brandon Workman, Jon Lester and John Lackey are the scheduled starters for the Sox’s upcoming three-game series against the Yankees.
— It appears that it still will be some time before we see Shane Victorino in a Red Sox uniform again. The outfielder, who has been rehabbing in the minors, has been shut down due to back soreness. There is no new timetable for his return, Farrell said.
— Not a new development, but it’s worth mentioning again that reliever Chris Capuano was designated for assignment earlier today to make room for Buchholz on the active roster.
7:50 p.m. ET: Clay Buchholz makes his return to the major league mound Wednesday night in Seattle, taking the ball for the Boston Red Sox for the first time in nearly a month (30 days, to be exact).
That’s a sizable gap between starts, but time for Buchholz ease back into his rhythm is a luxury the Red Sox really do not have.
The Sox have been beaten and battered during their current West Coast swing, losing five of their first six games and blowing a five-run lead in the final two innings of the other before being bailed out by David Ortiz in extras.
Boston’s pitching staff — starters and relievers alike — has looked especially suspect through the first two games of a three-game set with the Mariners, allowing a total of 20 runs while the Red Sox offense has provided just five runs of support.
So, if there were ever a time for Buchholz to shake off his early season demons (2-4 record, 7.02 ERA in 10 starts before his stint on the disabled list), now would be it.
Starting opposite him will be Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who also has battled injury and inconsistency this season. Iwakuma didn’t make his first start of the year until May 3 after straining a tendon in his finger during spring training, and he’s been the epitome of a hit-or-miss starter since returning to the rotation.
Four of the 33-year-old’s 10 starts have been nearly flawless, including three in which he pitched either seven or eight innings and did not allow a run or a walk. The other six … not so much. Iwakuma has given up four or more earned runs four times this season, with his worst outing of the year (five runs, nine hits, one walk, two home runs in five innings) coming in a 7-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals last Friday.
First pitch for this series finale won’t be until 10:10 p.m. on the East Coast, and we’ll be bringing you plenty more updates and analysis leading up to it. In the meantime, here’s a look at the starting lineups both teams will be trotting out:
Boston Red Sox (35-43)
Brock Holt, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jonny Gomes, LF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Clay Buchholz, RHP (2-4, 7.02 ERA)
Seattle Mariners (42-36)
Endy Chavez, DH
James Jones, CF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Kyle Seager, 3B
Logan Morrison, 1B
Mike Zunino, C
Dustin Ackley, LF
Brad Miller, SS
Stefen Romero, RF
Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP (5-3, 3.04 ERA)