By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Logan Morrison hit a pair of home runs Monday night, and Felix Hernandez turned in a typically dominant effort, but the signature moment in the Mariners’ 12-3 romp over Boston came from Dustin Ackley.
It was Ackley’s grinding at-bat in the fourth inning, which lasted 13 pitches against Red Sox starter John Lackey, that turned a tight game into a blowout.
Even though it resulted in nothing more than a routine grounder to first.
OK, let’s reset:
The Mariners had just pulled even at 2-2 on a Kyle Seager RBI single. They had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth, and Ackley fouled a series of tough pitches from Lackey.
Finally, Ackley sent a grounder, a potential double-play grounder, to first base — but Lackey, for whatever reason, broke late to first base. That took away any chance for a double play.
The go-ahead run scored … and the Mariners blew open the game by scoring four more runs in the fourth and another run in the fifth. That provided Felix Hernandez with a six-run lead on a King’s Court Night.
Yep, game over — long before they struck for four more runs in the seventh. Hernandez (9-2) held the Red Sox to two runs and six hits in seven innings before Dominic Leone and Tom Wilhelmsen closed out the victory.
Hernandez set a club record by yielding two or fewer runs for an eighth straight start lasting at least seven innings.
The rout enabled manager Lloyd McClendon to resist any temptation to use closer Fernando Rodney for a fifth straight day. Rodney closed out three tight victories in a weekend sweep at Kansas City.
The Mariners have won four in a row and, at 41-36, are back to a season-best five games over .500. The finished with 14 hits and batted around in their six-run fourth and a four-run seventh.
The last time the Mariners batted around twice in a game was May 30, 2012 in a 21-8 victory at Texas. The 12 runs matched a season high; the Mariners also hit one dozen on May 12 in a 12-5 victory over Tampa Bay.
Morrison had the first multi-homer game of his career and finished with four hits and four RBIs. Kyle Seager had three hits and two RBIs. Endy Chavez capped the big fourth with a three-run triple. And lots more.
Lackey (8-5) gave up seven runs and seven hits in 3? innings. The Mariners also roughed up reliever Chris Capuano for five runs in 2? innings.
But it all turned with Ackley’s at-bat.
Boston opened the scoring on David Ortiz’s RBI single in the first before Morrison tied it in the second with the first of his two homers. Mike Napoli’s one-out homer in the fourth put the Red Sox back on top.
Napoli’s homer was also the first allowed by Hernandez in 12 starts covering 83 innings — since Houston’s Matt Dominguez went deep in the fifth inning on April 21.
So ended the longest homerless streak in Hernandez’s career.
The Mariners answered immediately … with six runs.
Robinson Cano sliced a one-out double that hopped the left-field wall later in the inning and scored on Seager’s line single to right. Seager raced to third when Morrison beat an overshifted infield for a single to right.
Seager turned second and raced shortstop Stephen Drew for third; right fielder Brock Holt had little choice but to run the ball back to the infield. A walk to Mike Zunino loaded the bases.
Ackley then battled through 13 pitches before his fielder’s-choice grounder scored Seager with the go-ahead run. And it was all Mariners after that.
Lackey bounced a wild pitch past catcher A.J. Pierzynski that scored Morrison. Next, Lackey walked Brad Miller before Willie Bloomquist loaded the bases with a single to right.
All three runners scored when Holt misread Chavez’s drive to right. Lackey began walking toward the dugout believing it to be the third out, but the ball sailed over Holt’s head for a three-run triple.
The Mariners led 7-2 lead, and the Red Sox summoned Capuano. It made little difference. Morrison’s RBI single in the fifth extended the lead, and his two-run homer keyed the four-run seventh.