The Seattle Mariners’ hopes of a fifth straight series win lasted well into Sunday’s home matinee against a team that convincingly swept them three weeks ago.
Rafael Devers hit a high fastball beyond left field and ended the stalemate with two outs in the eighth inning. Rob Refsnyder crossed home plate first, having been hit by a pitch, and that was all the Boston Red Sox needed for a 2-0 victory.
“There might be one or two hitters in this league that can even square that ball up, let alone hit it out of the ballpark,” manager Scott Servais said. “You have to tip your hat.
“One of those games that was going to come down to a big swing of the bat. Unfortunately they got it, we didn’t.”
Robbie Ray did his part for the Mariners. He allowed no runs on three hits over seven innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
On the other side, Kutter Crawford made the most of his moment as well. He was recalled from Triple-A Worcester to replace planned starter Garrett Whitlock, placed on the 15-day injured list Friday with hip inflammation. In his second career Major League start, Crawford went five innings and allowed one hit and four walks.
“He has a really good cutter,” Servais said. “Not surprising, with (that) name. He doesn’t have a lot of major-league experience, but he threw the ball very well.”
The Mariners didn’t record that base hit until the fifth inning when Luis Torrens singled on a line drive to right field. Jesse Winker walked next with two outs, but Ty France struck out – Crawford’s seventh and final of the afternoon – and the game remained scoreless.
“He brought his A-game,” Ray said of Crawford.
At that point, the Red Sox had also seemingly recorded one hit. J.D. Martinez popped one into shallow right field, where it bounced off first baseman France’s glove. It was originally labeled an error but later changed to a double.
Alex Verdugo put runners on the corners for the Red Sox in the top of the seventh, but a double play kept the visitors off the scoreboard. Boston’s Christian Arroyo soon returned the favor in right field, bending backward to snag Abraham Toro’s long fly to the warning track.
Paul Sewald took over on the mound for the eighth inning. He struck out the first two batters he faced before Devers arrived at the plate for his home run.
“I can’t fault Paul Seawald. He executed that pitch, their guy just hit it,” Servais said. “It happens.”
Sewald hit Martinez, the next batter, on the hand. He and Sergio Romo combined for two innings, one hit, two runs and two strikeouts.
Refsnyder denied France an eighth-inning hit with a flying catch. He pumped his arms, celebrating alongside the many Red Sox fans in attendance.
Coming off an emotional 7-6 walk-off win Saturday night, the Mariners’ offense lagged. They left six runners on base to Boston’s five.
“Disappointed with the game. Not disappointed with the way we’re playing – we’re playing good baseball,” Servais said.