Mitch Hanniger paid Boston for a costly error by first baseman Kyle Schwarber, hit a three-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning, and the Seattle Mariners won 5–4 over the Red Sox.
SEATTLE – Normally keeping a steady hold and keeping his emotions in check, Seattle’s Mitch Hanniger couldn’t stop pumping his fist and screaming as he rounded first base.
He knew what his 33rd home run meant at this time of year.
“In September you hope you’re right in the fight to win the division or make a wild card, and showing up every day has been really fun,” Hanniger said. “There’s a lot of energy and it’s easy to get into the ballpark, and play and work while you’re still at it.”
Hanniger paid Boston for a costly error by first baseman Kyle Schwarber, hit a three-run home run with two in the seventh inning, and the Mariners won a 5-4 win over the Red Sox on Monday night.
A crucial three-game series opener between AL wild-card contenders ended with four unearned runs allowed by the Red Sox, thanks to the home side.
No one was more damaging than Schwarber’s mishandling of Jake Bauers’ grounder with two in seventh. Reliever Ryan Brazier (0–1) received the ground ball needed to exit the innings, but Schwarber misjudged the bounce and Bowers was safe.
“It was in the glove. It popped out and that was it,” Schwarber said. “Desperate. I wanted to make that play. We had one, two, three innings and it turns into too much.”
JP Crawford chases down with a broken bat and Brazier drops a slider down the middle of the plate for a hangier. He didn’t get it all, but it was enough to clear the left field wall. Hanniger took 4 for 4 and went home for the third straight game.
The Mariners also scored an unearned run in the second following an error from right fielder Hunter Renfro. The Red Sox have allowed 33 unearned runs since the All-Star break, the most in the American League.
“It’s disappointing, but we have to keep working on it,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “We have to put in the work and hopefully get into ‘hot streaks’ defensively to play clean baseball. We’re really good when we do that.”
Boston did not go quietly. Xander Bogarts and Rafael Devers hit homers with two consecutive dismissals in the eighth match off Seattle’s Paul Seewald. It was the third straight appearance Seewald allowed a long ball in his first 48 appearances this season after allowing just four.
Seewald survived the innings, and Drew Steckenreider placed ninth to save the second. Seattle pulled within two games of Boston in the JAM AL wild-card standings.
Seattle rookie Logan Gilbert made six strong knocks in his best outing since early July, when he bowled seven shutout innings against the Yankees. Rediscovering the spirit of his slider, Gilbert allowed five hits and matched his career high with nine strikeouts. The most important of those strikeouts came against the last batsman he faced. With Bogarts in third place after the leadoff double, Gilbert dismissed Alex Verdugo to end the sixth inning and tie the game.
“He used to see a big game pitcher for a guy who is in his rookie season. It is so much fun to watch,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais.
Jose Iglesias hit home for the first time since August 6, and Gilbert later had a bloop RBI single.
Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez allowed six hits and one earned run in six innings. He hit a six.
Red Sox: Boston activated reliever Hirokazu Sawamura from the COVID-19 injured list and back left-handed pitcher Austin Davis from the paternity list. Cora said that more players could be out of the COVID-19 injured list in the coming days. Left-hander Martin Perez is expected to be active on Tuesday, and Cora hopes left-handed starter Chris Sells can make a comeback against Baltimore this weekend.
Mariners: Jake Fraley (shoulder) could be activated from the injured list in the next few days after rehab with Triple-A Tacoma, Servais said. Fraley’s is out August 28. … RHP Justin Dunn (shoulder) threw a second mock game on Monday and could head to Tacoma or Single-A Everett for a rehab stint, depending on how he feels. Dunn has been on the injured list since late June.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Iovaldi (10-8, 3.57) slammed seven scoreless innings on his last start against Tampa Bay. Iovaldi is 1-1 with an ERA of 1.91 in his last six with 47 strikeouts and six walks.
Mariners: LHP Tyler Anderson (6-9, 4.20) makes his ninth start since being acquired by Seattle. Anderson scored 1–1 with an ERA of 3.83 in his time with the Mariners, but lasted only 4 2/3 innings on his last start against Houston.
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