Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Aaron Cook (35) pitches to Seattle Mariners during the 1st inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
A night after an amazing pitchers' duel ended with Felix Hernandez outlasting Franklin Morales, Aaron Cook put on a show of an entirely different variety.
For the first four frames, both players were enjoying quick outs and innings. Where Aaron Cook was doing it with ground balls, Hector Noesi was giving up long fly balls and line drives that were finding gloves.
It was not a sustainable strategy, and the Red Sox showed that in the fifth inning. Will Middlebrooks got the homer explosion started with a leadoff shot to left field on a slider that got down and away, just not enough. Cody Ross made it back-to-back shots on a middle-middle fastball that he sent into the upper decks, and while the next two outs came easily enough, Daniel Nava hit his first homer since May 23, sending one to right field for a change.
The next inning was nearly as productive, with David Ortiz leading off the frame with a double and Jarrod Saltalamacchia clobbering a two-run shot to left-center.
The rest of the game was uneventful for the Boston lineup, but Aaron Cook made sure that didn't matter. Needing just 81 pitches, Cook held the Mariners to just two hits in a complete game shutout. Those two hits? Both on the ground: an Ichiro Suzuki infield single, and a fairly solid John Jaso ground ball to right. Add in an error by Mike Aviles and subtract a couple of double plays, and Cook faced just one man over the minimum. An amazing game from an unexpected source.
The Sox seem to be getting a fair few of those lately.