SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 05: Mike Aviles #3 (R) of the Boston Red Sox heads back to the dugout after striking out in the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 5, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners defeated the Red Sox 2-1. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
And so ends another awful West Coast trip.
It's rare that a four-run performance can be referred to as an "outburst" with a straight face, but after tonight's 2-1 loss, the offensive production on Tuesday can be called just that: an outburst distinct from a week of nothing.
Sadly, the man who played hero last night for the Red Sox, Ryan Lavarnway, was today the villain. Where Tuesday he had come through with a big game-winning homer, on Wednesday he was simply brutal. A double play to end a promising second inning, another ground ball to strand the bases loaded in the fourth, and then a failure to so much as move Jarrod Saltalamacchia along after a leadoff walk in the ninth. In total, he would strand six men on base.
To be fair to Lavarnway, though, that just makes him the king to a team of clutch-free princes. The Sox would go a combined 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, with Cody Ross providing the lone hit--a double down the right field line, into the corner that scored Jacoby Ellsbury, who had replaced Dustin Pedroia at first after hitting into a fielder's choice.
Is it some sort of a rule that runs shall not be scored in Seattle? It certainly seemed so tonight. Aaron Cook was miserable for much of the night, and seemed to dodge bullets left and right before finally settling into a groove late in his outing. Kevin Millwood was a little better, but had troubles in the second, fourth, and sixth innings all-the-same. Each pitcher flirted with disaster, Cook just had the really bad inning come with worse timing, loading the bases with nobody out rather than two.
The Sox will head back home now. Though Fenway Park has hardly been a fortress this year to begin with, anything is better than the West Coast.