Saturday’s Boston Red Sox-Seattle Mariners game represents an unexpected tale of two pitchers.
The Mariners roughed up Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi, and Seattle’s Chris Flexen befuddled Boston all afternoon, consigning the Sox to an 8-2 loss at Fenway Park.
The outcome was surprising because Eovaldi has pitched strongly dating back to last season, and the Red Sox offense has been among the baseball’s scariest in 2021. Meanwhile, the unheralded Flexen enjoyed his best outing of the season.
The Red Sox fall to 13-9 with the loss and they now are 7-8 at Fenway Park. The Mariners improve to 13-8.
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox went down early, and the Mariners kept them out of the game with masterful pitching.
ON THE BUMP
— Eovaldi fell into an early hole after Ty France doubled in the first inning. France then scored on Kyle Seager’s single.
The second inning was worse for Eovaldi. Sam Haggerty started the frame with a single, then stole second base. France moved him to third on an infield single. Seager then tripled, scoring Haggerty and France.
Eovaldi threw a wild pitch to the next batter, allowing Seager to score. Boston trailed 4-0 before Eovaldi settled down.
The Mariners increased their lead to 5-0 with two outs in the fifth inning. Seager doubled before moving to third base on Eovaldi’s wild pitch. Xander Bogaerts then committed an error on Taylor Trammell’s ground ball up the middle, allowing Seager to score.
Eovaldi’s outing ended after five innings. He allowed five runs — four of them earned — on seven hits, with three strikeouts and one walk.
— After retiring the three batters he faced in the sixth inning, Austin Brice allowed France to double to lead off the seventh inning.
— Josh Taylor replaced Brice with France on second. Taylor retired the first two batters he faced, but France moved to third on a passed ball. Taylor kept Boston’s deficit at five by striking out Evan White to end the inning.
Taylor was in a groove until Haggerty hit a solo home run off of him in the eighth inning to increase Seattle’s lead to 6-1.
— Phillips Valdez replaced Taylor with two outs and one on in the eighth. Valdez forced Mitch Haniger to ground out to end the inning.
Valdez struggled with his control in the ninth. He walked France and Jose Marmolejos, then moved them into scoring position on a wild pitch. White singled, scoring France. Valdez struck out the next batter but then hit Luis Torres to load the bases. Valdez then should have escaped the jam on a ground-out, but Haggerty beat him to first base for an RBI single to make the score 8-1.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Eavoldi’s early fate was the opposite of Flexen’s, who allowed one run on just four hits and struck out seven over seven innings.
— Boston threatened to put runs on the board in the fourth inning after Alex Verdugo hit safely, and J.D. Martinez walked. However, Bogaerts flied out, and Rafael Devers grounded into a double play.
— The Red Sox finally scored in the seventh inning. Devers doubled off of the Green Monster, and Marwin Gonzalez knocked him home with an RBI single.
— Verdugo doubled off of Will Vest to start the ninth inning. Devers knocked Verdugo home with a double that was a carbon-copy of the one he hit in the seventh inning.
— Devers and Verdugo both had two hits. Bogaerts and Gonzalez each had one.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Mother Nature produced a fine backdrop for the game.
The Red Sox and Mariners will finish their four-game series Sunday at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET. Eduardo Rodriguez and Nick Margevicius are expected to be the Red Sox’s and Mariners’ starting pitchers, respectively.