Monday, August 25, 2014

Game of the Day (8/24/14)

Mariners 8, Red Sox 6. Seattle started Hisashi Iwakuma, who would be the ace on a normal pitching staff. Boston replied with Allen Webster, who would arguably still be in the minors on a normal pitching staff.

The Mariners pounced on Webster right out of the gate. Austin Jackson led off the game with a single, and Dustin Ackley doubled him to third. Robinson Cano grounded to the mound, getting Jackson thrown out at home, but Kendrys Morales followed with an RBI single to open the scoring. Kyle Seager then singled to score Cano; Morales was thrown out trying for third, but Seager moved to second on the play, and scored on Logan Morrison's subsequent hit for a 3-0 lead.

Boston took all of an inning to recover. Brock Holt led off with a single, moved to second with a groundout, and scored on a two-out hit by Yoenis Cespedes. Iwakuma then hit both Mike Napoli and Allen Craig with pitches before allowing a game-tying two-run single to Will Middlebrooks.

Naturally, after the fireworks of the first inning, Webster and Iwakuma were both perfect in the second, and Webster did it again in the third. David Ortiz walked to lead off the bottom of the inning, and Cano was then pulled from the game due to dizziness. Cespedes doubled, Napoli grounded out to bring Ortiz home, Craig reached on an infield hit with Cespedes remaining at third, and Middlebrooks doubled to score another run and chase Iwakuma from the mound. Dominic Leone issued a walk to load the bases before retiring the next two hitters to end the inning.

Within two and a half innings, the Mariners had gone from a 3-run lead with an excellent pitcher on the mound to a two-run deficit with both the star starter and their best hitter out of the game. It slowed them down not at all. Seager drew a leadoff walk in the fourth, moved to second on a Morrison double, and scored on a Chris Denorfia sacrifice fly to cut the gap in half. Leone worked around a walk in the bottom of the fourth, and a Jackson single and an Ackley triple to start the fifth tied the score. Brad Miller, Cano's replacement, followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly.

Leone once again worked around a two-out walk in the bottom of the fifth. Heath Hembree allowed a walk and a single in the sixth, but no runs. Joe Beimel and Danny Farquhar allowed singles to Ortiz and Cespedes, respectively, in the bottom of the inning, but Farquhar struck out Napoli to strand them both. Jackson drew a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh, but Tommy Layne relieved and induced a double play from Ackley. Craig led off the bottom of the inning with a double, and Mookie Betts singled him to third one out later, but Christian Vazquez lined back to the mound and Farquhar converted it into a double play to end the threat.

Morales led off the eighth with a single and took second on a passed ball. He was then replaced by pinch runner Endy Chavez, who took third on another passed ball and scored on a Seager single, making it a 7-5 lead. Charlie Furbush relieved in the bottom of the inning and allowed a leadoff single to Holt, who took second on a passed ball - it's like they ran out of ungreased baseballs for this inning. One out later, Kelly Johnson doubled Holt home. Tom Wilhelmsen replaced Furbush and struck out Cespedes; Johnson took third on a wild pitch (at least it wasn't a passed ball) and Napoli walked, but Craig struck out to leave the tying run 90 feet away.

Seattle added a ninth-inning insurance run on an Ackley single and a Miller double against Edward Mujica. In the bottom of the inning, the Red Sox loaded the bases against Fernando Rodney on a Betts single, a Holt walk, a double steal, and a Pedroia walk, but Johnson struck out to end the game.

Two lead changes after multi-run rallies. The last lead change was in the fifth, but the game made up for that by having the Red Sox get the tying run into scoring position in each of the last four innings, failing to bring it home every time. That allowed the Mariners to come out on top despite the early exits from one of the best pitchers in the league and one of the best position players in the league, largely thanks to a homer-short-of-the-cycle game from Dustin Ackley.

Yeah, this was a pretty interesting game.

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