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Red Sox 2, Mariners 1: Extra-Innings Breakthrough

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Seattle, WA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) singles against the Seattle Mariners  during the tenth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
Seattle, WA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) singles against the Seattle Mariners during the tenth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

For the first time this year, the Red Sox are winners of an extra-innings game.

Thanks to Kyle Seager and the Seattle Mariners defense, it was hard enough just to get there. Once again struggling to make good on their opportunities (1-for-6 with RISP, nine men left on base), the Sox were held scoreless for much of the game. The biggest wasted opportunity came in the second, when Kyle Seager made a diving grab on a bases loaded line drive off the bat of Nick Punto, but throughout the night the Sox had runners stolen from them by the infield and outfield alike, letting Seattle starter Jason Vargas off the hook.

Felix Doubront would also benefit from some solid defense and a mediocre Seattle lineup, turning what could have been a very bad night into something at least passable based on results. Still, even with just one earned run, Doubront did not impress. Struggling with his command and an ability to get the ball inside, especially to left-handed batters, Doubront walked five and could have given up a lot more had the Mariners not suffered from the same difficulties with balls in play as the Sox.

The Sox would make up the earned run in the eighth, when Dustin Pedroia finally broke a lengthy home run drought by going deep to left field, evening the game at 1-1 and sending it to extra innings after Vicente Padilla escaped from a jam in the bottom of the ninth. There, Ryan Kalish struck against Brandon League, doubling to the wall in right, and moving to third on a Pedroia single. David Ortiz added in the sacrifice fly, and the Sox took a lead that Alfredo Aceves would maintain in the bottom half of the inning.

There's not a lot of individual performances to feel good about in this outing--pretty much only Dustin Pedroia and, in his limited time, Ryan Kalish are worthy of significant note. Somehow, though, in this too-long series, the Red Sox came out better of than they entered in the playoff race, and that's worth quite a bit more on the whole.