SEATTLE — Tim Beckham hit two of Seattle’s three home runs off Boston ace Chris Sale, and the Mariners improved to 3-0 with a 12-4 win over the World Series champion Red Sox on Thursday.
The Mariners followed up their two wins over Oakland last week in Japan by rattling Sale (0-1) and knocking out the lefty that had dominated Seattle in the past. Sale was done after just three innings while the Mariners were just getting started on their big offensive day.
Beckham did the most damage, hitting a solo homer in the second and following up in the third with a two-run shot to center field. The infielder was hitless in 15 career at-bats with nine strikeouts against Sale before hitting his second and third home runs of the season.
Edwin Encarnacion added a solo shot off Sale as part of a four-run third inning. Ryon Healy and Domingo Santana both homered off Boston’s bullpen as Seattle finished with five long balls.
Santana has nine RBI in three games, the most in team history after the first three games of a season. He had 20 RBI in 85 games last year with Milwaukee.
Sale had overpowered Seattle the last three times he faced the Mariners, with double-digit strikeouts in all three outings. And it appeared he was headed for another dominant performance that would have delighted the numerous red-clad fans that showed up at T-Mobile Park to see the world champs. Sale struck out the side with ease in the first inning.
His opening day outing fell apart quickly from there.
Beckham’s homer started Sale’s problems, but it was his inability to finish off the second inning that raised his pitch count and led to two runs. Sale issued a two-out walk to David Freitas, gave up a single to Dee Gordon and hit Mitch Haniger with a pitch to load the bases.
Santana drove in a pair with a double into the right-field corner, and further damage was averted when Haniger was thrown out at the plate. But Sale was already on a limited pitch count and was pulled after giving up four more runs in the third and reaching 76 pitches.
Seattle starter Marco Gonzales (2-0) was shaky early, but pitched into the sixth and allowed three earned runs to pick up his second victory. Boston had nine hits off Gonzales, but very little solid contact until the sixth inning when doubles by Eduardo Nunez and Christian Vazquez led to a pair of runs and ended Gonzales’ day.