It is the sad, ineluctable truth that time is the one enemy to which all athletes eventually succumb. Even for a player like’David Ortiz, whose career has seemingly come crashing to the ground before reemerging, phoenix-like and stronger than ever, the penumbral shadows are surely growing longer; the "good night" of retirement must be approaching. His final shots at extending his legacy are surely at hand.
So it is good to see him waste little time in taking care of business with respect to owning his latest record in the books: a night after a four-hit assault tied him with Harold Baines for most hits by a DH, he claimed it as his own with a double in the second inning off of Aaron Harang. He would come around to score three batters latter, when a Jarrod Saltalamacchia sacrifice fly would score the game's first run; Jose Iglesias would hit another sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0. The Sox would tack on another pair of runs in the third inning, this time directly by the man of the hour himself. And if you're going to score on a deep, deep home run, why not score your favorite leprechaun, Dustin Pedroia, in the process?
A fifth run would score in the fourth, as a Jacoby Ellsbury double followed by a Shane Victorino single would plate another run, and perhaps quell the angst of Sox fans worried about more appearances of Daniel Nava in center field. But the big inning this time would be the sixth, as singles by Salty and Iglesias would chase Harang from the game. Unfortunately for the Mariners, Aaron's alliterative alternate, Lucas Luetge and would fare little better, as the Sox would nickel and dime the Mariners into submission, with singles by Ellsbury and Victorino, an error by Brad Miller trying to force Pedroia out, and an Ortiz sacrifice fly (as improbable as that sounds) brought in a run each, as the Mariners' keel was slowly and mercilessly hauled under as one leak after another sprang.
You will note that to this point, I haven't made any mention of the Mariners offense. Credit for that goes to the Sox's starter, Felix Doubront, and the rest of the defense. Doubront pitched strongly, allowing just three hits through the first six innings to keep the Mariners off the board. The seventh inning would be the only one where the Mariners managed to piece together a run, off a Jason Bay double and Henry Blanco, Jr., single. But six strikeouts versus two passes made for an outstanding evening for Doubront, and another quality start (this of the not-very-questionable variety).
The eighth inning, unfortunately, would be another story, this one more worthy of Stephen King than Hans Christian Andersen. The debut inning of Brandon Workman was anything but easy, as he threw lots of strikes, but also generated a lot of contact. Like so many a young pitcher, he was welcomed to the big leagues by surrendering a home run to the first batter he faced, Brendan Ryan. The next two batters, Dustin Ackley and Kendrys Morales, would also combine for four total bases, as Workman's ERA climbed to double infinity before Kyle Seager would line out to center field and giving Workman a bloated 54.00 ERA. However, signs of promise would also be there: in spite of giving up another run on a double, Workman managed to notch his first two major league strikeouts, against Jason Bay and Michael Saunders.
Those among us who saw this as potentially another meltdown in the works need not have panicked, as the Sox bats got back to work in the ninth inning, manufacturing a few more runs. Thanks to two walks to Nava and Salty (part of seven handed out by Mariners pitchers with seemingly greater gusto than a cowbell giveaway at Tropicana Field), a wild pitch by Tom Wilhelmsen, and a Mike Carp single, the Sox would bring in the final two runs of the night. Workman would be much more his usual workmanlike self in the ninth, ending the game with another punchout, one of four in just two innings of work.
The Sox have now climbed back to a respectable 3-3 on the road trip, and will look to earn a series win in the finale Thursday.
Read more Red Sox:
- What to expect from Red Sox prospect Brandon Workman
- It's time for change in the Red Sox rotation
- MLB Trade Deadline: How can the Red Sox fix their bullpen?
- Should the Red Sox sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia to an extension?
- The sustainable side of Jose Iglesias’ success at the plate