SEATTLE — Well, this was not a one-run game.
And that’s not the Seattle Mariners’ expertise.
Sunday’s contest got out of hand in the third inning, with the Boston Red Sox scoring five times en route to a 9-3 victory over the Mariners.
Seattle starting pitcher Mike Leake was tagged the five runs — all with two out — with three of them coming on a rocket of a home run from Rafael Devers off the windows of the Hit It Here Cafe well past the right-field wall.
It put a sour note on the end of an otherwise electric Mariners’ homestand, this last game in front of 46,462 (the seventh-largest regular-season crowd in Safeco Field history).
“We haven’t been in one of those in quite some time,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “You play 162 games and once in a while you’ll have a dud. We just didn’t get it going.”
The Mariners are 46-26 after splitting a four-game series with Boston (48-24) and dropped 1.5 games back of Houston in the American League West. The Astros won their 11th consecutive game earlier in the day.
This was a dud, but the Mariners are still have the best record in the majors since May 8 (27-12) and are 12-4 in the month of June, the month that’s supposed to test the M’s staying power the most. Now they head to New York to play the Yankees for the first time this year in a three-game series before another three-game set in Boston against the Red Sox after that.
“We’ll see them again next week in Boston and I think our guys are looking forward to it,” Servais said. “This stretch in this schedule, everybody is like, ‘Oh, this is going to be tough and you haven’t played anybody.’ We are just fine.”
The Mariners took back-to-back one-run wins against Boston before the Red Sox bashed Seattle on Sunday with home runs from Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, the former All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger who hit his third home run of the four-game series.
“That’s a really good team over there,” Servais said. “That’s why they have the record they have. We are a good team and that’s why we have the record we have. It’s disappointing that we didn’t finish it off and win the series, but overall a very good home stand.”
Leake retired the first two batters he faced in the third inning. Then six consecutive Boston batters reached.
He walked J.D. Martinez to load the bases before Mitch Moreland’s two-run single and Devers followed with his three-run hit-it-here shot.
“Mike had a hard time getting a feel with his breaking ball,” Servais said. “It was pretty much fastball-changeup, back and forth. They threw some really good at-bats at him, too.”
Leake said the pitch to Devers was mistake that found the middle of the plate.
“I was trying to get him back foot and it went right to the middle,” Leake said.
So all of a sudden, the Red Sox led 5-0.
But the Mariners cut that to a three-run deficit. Nelson Cruz launched a 442-foot home run to the upper deck in left field to lead off the fourth. Leake went on to retire 10 consecutive batters. Then they had the bases loaded, no outs, in the fifth after Dee Gordon’s bunt rolled perfectly down the third-base line without crossing the foul line.
The Mariners had Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Cruz coming up.
Segura grounded into a fielder’s choice to score one, but that was it. Seattle never got closer after that.
“We had some opportunities,” Servais said. “We had some guys in scoring position and didn’t put a big inning together. I say all that, and it’s 5-2, and with the way we’ve been going, we still felt we had a chance. We get the bases loaded and you think we have a chance to pull some magic out again.”
Chasen Bradford has been one of the Mariners’ most productive bullpen arms since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma near the start of the season. But Bradley sent the first pitch Bradford threw over the center-field wall for a solo home run and a four-run Boston cushion.
Big deficit, but maybe this resilient group of Mariners could come back. After all, they were tied with the Red Sox for most comeback victories in the majors entering the game (21).
But two batters later, Bogaerts rocked a two-run home run for an 8-2 Red Sox lead. Bradford had allowed two home runs all season until allowing four homers over his past three appearances.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, many of that sellout crowd began filing for the exits to beat the traffic.