Behind a dominant effort from Jon Lester and five RBIs by four players who began the season in the minor leagues, Boston rolled to a 5-1 win in the series opener.
The win, coupled with New York’s seventh loss in eight games, pulled the Sox within seven games of the wild card lead with 18 to play.
Daisuke Matsuzaka opposes Luke French in another must-win affair for Boston.
WHEN AND WHERE
Red Sox (80-64) at Mariners (55-89)
Tuesday, Sept. 14, 10:10 p.m. NESN
Safeco Field, Seattle, Wash.
HEAD TO HEAD
The Red Sox are 11-17 in Seattle since 2005.
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5, 4.70 ERA) vs. LHP Luke French (4-5, 3.90 ERA)
Matsuzaka has hit a bit of a wall in the second half of the season. He is 1-2 with a 7.04 ERA in his last five starts, allowing at least four runs in each outing and a career high-tying eight runs his last time out.
One of Matsuzaka’s few quality starts in the second half of the season came July 25 at Seattle. He allowed a run on four hits in six innings in a game the Sox eventually lost 4-2.
The righty, who turned 30 on Monday, is 5-2 with a 4.38 ERA on the road and 2-0 with a 2.23 mark in five career starts in Safeco Field.
Like Matsuzaka, French has enjoyed pitching in Seattle. He is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA at home this year, having allowed a run on four hits in 14 innings over his last two outings at Safeco.
French has never faced the Red Sox.
|Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, RF
Victor Martinez, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Jed Lowrie, SS
Jason Varitek, C
Bill Hall, LF
Ryan Kalish, CF
Daisuke Matsuzaka, P
|Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Chone Figgins, 2B
Russell Branyan, DH
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Jose Lopez, 3B
Michael Saunders, LF
Adam Moore, C
Josh Wilson, SS
Lucas French, P
- Outfielder Ryan Kalish has 12 RBIs in 10 games in September.
- Third baseman Adrian Beltre has 70 extra-base hits, tied with Wade Boggs (1987) for the team record at that position.
- Left-hander Jon Lester has 42 strikeouts in his last four starts.
- Second baseman Chone Figgins has 17 errors, five more than anyone else at his position in the American League.
- Every Mariner starter except for first baseman Casey Kotchman had at least one strikeout Monday.
- Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki had a 13-game hitting streak snapped on Monday.
BLACK AND BLUE
- Right fielder J.D. Drew is day-to-day with a jammed right ankle.
- Second baseman Dustin Pedroia had season-ending surgery Sept. 3 on his broken left foot. He is expected to be fully healed for spring training.
- Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) will not resume any baseball-related activities until after the season ends.
- Center fielder Mike Cameron had season-ending surgery Friday to repair an abdominal tear.
- First baseman Kevin Youkilis had successful surgery to repair the torn right adductor muscle on his right hand. He will miss the remainder of the season.
- Left-hander Felix Doubront has pain behind his left clavicle. He has not pitched since Aug. 31 and will not join the team on the trip.
- Right-hander Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.
- Outfielder Milton Bradley is likely out for the year following surgery to relieve right knee tendinitis last month.
- Shortstop Jack Wilson is out for the year with a broken bone in his right hand.
- Left-hander Erik Bedard had season-ending shoulder surgery Aug. 6.
The Red Sox have not won three in a row in nearly a month. If they want to keep dreaming of a miracle comeback it’s imperative they get that third straight win Tuesday.