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Mariners can't keep pace in finale vs. Red Sox

Seattle closes out 5-2 homestand before heading on 10-game road trip
June 17, 2018

SEATTLE -- The Mariners got a big blast from Nelson Cruz and beautiful bunt from Dee Gordon, but that was no match for Boston's bats as the Red Sox rolled to a 9-3 win and pulled out a series split Sunday at Safeco Field.Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander

SEATTLE -- The Mariners got a big blast from Nelson Cruz and beautiful bunt from Dee Gordon, but that was no match for Boston's bats as the Red Sox rolled to a 9-3 win and pulled out a series split Sunday at Safeco Field.
Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts all drilled home runs as the Red Sox awakened from a 17-inning scoreless streak to spoil Seattle's penchant for close victories and pull back even with the Yankees atop the American League East at 49-24.
The Mariners lead the Majors with 23 one-run wins, including their past two over Boston on Friday and Saturday, but the Red Sox handed them their most-lopsided loss since an 8-2 setback to the Angels six weeks ago.
It was a disappointing way to end a 5-2 homestand, but manager Scott Servais wasn't losing sight of the big picture.
"We have a good ballclub. We really do," Servais said. "The effort level is certainly there. The confidence is peaking at the right time. We'll have a few days like this once in a while and we'll blow people out once in awhile. Or maybe not. We like to play those one-run games. So I won't go there. But we're going to be just fine."

Seattle now embarks on a 10-game East Coast trip to New York, Boston and Baltimore sporting a 46-26 record and trailing the Astros by 1 1/2 games in the American League West after Houston won its 11th straight on Sunday in Kansas City.
"We'll see them again next week in Boston and I think the guys are looking forward to it. I know they are," said Servais. "This stretch in our schedule, everybody looked at it early on and, 'Oh, it's going to be tough. You guys haven't played anybody.' But we're just fine. You have to play the schedule. We don't make it, we just play it. And we're looking forward to the trip out East."
Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (9-1, 3.59) held the Mariners to two runs on six hits over six innings and struck out nine. Boston is 13-1 in games the 25-year-old Venezuelan has started this year and the Mariners will see him again next weekend in Fenway Park when they're lined up to face knuckleballer Steven Wright, Rodriguez and ace Chris Sale in a three-game set.
Mariners starter Mike Leake (7-4, 4.47 ERA) hadn't allowed more than two runs over his last five starts, but the Red Sox jumped on him for five runs with five hits in the third inning. Devers delivered the big blow, a three-run homer off the Hit it Here Cafe windows in right field.

"I was making pitches, but they were making it tough today," said Leake, who retired the final nine batters he faced to get through six innings without further damage. "They weren't giving me any breaks and I had to just keep going. They're a veteran team and know what it takes to put good games together."
Cruz crushed his 17th homer of the season with a 442-foot blast into the upper deck in left in the fourth and Gordon went 3-for-5, including a perfect bunt single that led to a run in the fifth and cut the lead to 5-2. But the Mariners couldn't mount a comeback in this one as Boston settled the issue with homers by Bradley Jr. and Bogaerts off reliever Chasen Bradford in the seventh.
The loss was just the fourth in their past 20 games at Safeco Field for the Mariners, who still have the third-best home record in the Majors at 25-14 (.641). The only teams who've been better at home? That would be the two Seattle now heads on the road to face -- the Yankees at 26-11 (.703) and Red Sox at 23-11 (.676).
Sure, home runs are fun to watch and there were a couple prodigious pokes between Cruz's upper-deck shot and Devers' blast off the Cafe. But Gordon does some amazing things in a different way and his bunt down the third-base line was a thing of beauty. The perfectly-placed slow roller loaded the bases and set up Seattle's second run of the game off Rodriguez when Jean Segura followed with a fielder's choice RBI grounder.

"Dee Gordon can bunt," Servais said. "There's no question about. He's got those angles down. That was big and we had the bases loaded there and you think we've got a chance to pull some magic out again. But there's a reason they have the record they have."
"It's a really good feeling. Our guys definitely do feel what's going on in the city as far as baseball and the Mariners and the thought behind this team. We've earned it. We deserve it. The fans attach and connect with our group of guys. They enjoy how we play, how we're never really out of the ballgame and how we get after it every day." -- Servais, on the growing crowds at Safeco, culminating with 44,462 on Sunday, the seventh-largest regular-season gathering in stadium history
After an off-day on Monday, lefty Marco Gonzales will look to get the Mariners' 10-game East Coast trek off on the right foot in a 4:05 p.m. PT start Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. The 26-year-old has gone 4-0 with a 1.41 ERA over his last six starts, though he gave up seven hits and three runs in a five-inning no-decision on Wednesday against the Angels. This will be his first time facing the Yankees.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.