SEATTLE -- Pitching and defense may be the keys to winning baseball games, but it never hurts to hit the ball over the wall, as well. The Mariners showed that again Saturday as they overcame three straight errors in the ninth inning by rookie third baseman Dylan Moore to survive with a 6-5 win over the Red Sox.
Jay Bruce's three-run blast in the fifth off Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez helped propel Seattle to its fourth win in five games and a 2-1 series lead against the defending World Series champions. Bruce provided just enough buffer for the Mariners to withstand Moore’s miscues, which led to three Red Sox runs with two outs in the ninth.
Coming a night after Seattle lost 7-6 on a three-run homer in the ninth after blowing a 6-1 lead, the Mariners breathed a sigh of relief when Nick Rumbelow struck out Xander Bogaerts for the final out.
“I will say, for all Mariners fans in the Midwest and east part of the country, stay up late to watch the end of our games,” manager Scott Servais said with a laugh. “You never know what you’re going to get.”
The Mariners have slugged 13 home runs and scored 38 runs in their five games and have nine homers in three contests with Boston at T-Mobile Park, heading into the series finale Sunday at 1:10 p.m. PT.
The Mariners put up six runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings against Rodriguez, as they continued doing damage to Boston’s well-regarded rotation. Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Rodriguez allowed 22 hits and 18 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings for a 13.14 ERA in the three games.
After a hot spring, Bruce was 1-for-15 in the first four regular-season games before unloading the 287th home run of his career.
“They’ve been kind of carrying me along for the first couple games, so it felt good to help,” said the three-time All-Star, who came to Seattle from the Mets as part of the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade.
Ryon Healy doubled twice with an RBI as he continued his extra-base onslaught. Healy has five doubles and two homers in the first five games. He’s just the fourth Mariners player to open a season with extra-base hits in five straight games, joining Ken Griffey Jr. (first seven games in 1997), Phil Bradley (six in ’85) and David Segui (five in ’98).
“I like my approach. I feel prepared, and I haven’t felt prepared for a long time,” said Healy, who has reduced the leg kick in his swing and feels his timing has improved. “I feel excited to go up to the plate. I’m going to try to stay there for, oh, 10-15 more years, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Seattle starter Mike Leake did his job in his season debut, allowing two runs on seven hits over six frames, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
“He was huge,” Servais said. “We said we’re going to find out about some young players, guys without a lot of experience in this league. He’s got really good stuff. It’s just a matter of can he be consistent getting it over the plate. That’s what he’s focused on now, just throwing strikes. If they hit it, it usually goes on the ground because he’s got a really good sinker.”
Lefty Zac Rosscup came on for the ninth and had two outs before Moore’s three straight errors allowed three runs to cross.
“One thing led to another, obviously,” said Moore, a 26-year-old utility man who made his first MLB start after coming off the bench the first four games as a defensive replacement. “It’s one of those things where when it rains, it pours. I have to put it behind me, and tomorrow is a new day. If they hit me the ball, I’m going to get it the next time. It didn’t happen, and, obviously, it snowballed.”
According to Elias, Moore is the sixth player in the past 10 years to commit three errors in an inning, the last being Mariners shortstop Jean Segura in the first inning of a 10-1 loss at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 27, 2017.
But Rumbelow then got his first career save for a bullpen that only had one other player -- Cory Gearrin -- with a previous save to his name.
“It was a nice win,” said Servais. “It’s crazy. There’s not going to be many conventional wins around here, but we’ll take them any way we can get them.”