BOSTON -- It was Mike Leake's eighth win of the season, the most of any Mariners pitcher. But this one meant a little more, and not just because it was a scoreless eight-inning gem in Saturday's 7-2 win over the hot-hitting Red Sox."When you have a five-game losing streak, yeah,
BOSTON -- It was Mike Leake's eighth win of the season, the most of any Mariners pitcher. But this one meant a little more, and not just because it was a scoreless eight-inning gem in Saturday's 7-2 win over the hot-hitting Red Sox.
"When you have a five-game losing streak, yeah, you need to end it," Leake said after helping snap the Mariners' skid and taking some weight off a club that had stumbled at the start of a tough 10-game East Coast road trip.
Good pitching and timely hitting, the two ingredients that added up to an excellent start this season for the Mariners, returned in force at Fenway Park.
Leake provided the pitching portion, allowing just three hits and two walks, and Mitch Haniger came through with the clutch offense as he doubled twice and drove in three runs to lead a 14-hit attack.
The Mariners (47-30) stayed 3 1/2 back of the Astros in the American League West, while Boston (51-27) remained a game behind the Yankees in the AL East.
It was a welcome turnabout for the Mariners after they'd blown five-run leads to both the Yankees and Red Sox during a tough stretch against the AL East powers, including a 14-10 loss in Friday's series opener at Fenway Park.
"The key to the game was Mike Leake," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Unbelievably big for our ballclub, for him to step up like that. It was exactly what we needed. Somebody to go out there and just shut it down and steady things. He's meant a lot to our team since we acquired him last year."
Seattle's starters had gone 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA during the five-game skid, after posting a 10-2 record and 3.17 ERA the previous 16 games. Leake, who'd started the losing streak with a shaky outing against the Red Sox last Sunday in Seattle, bounced back with a sterling effort as he gave up just three hits and two walks in a 98-pitch gem.
"I had the curveball working today, so I was able to use that and have a different pitch than my last game," Leake said. "And my changeup was pretty effective. I was getting ahead a little better as well. It helps in a way to have seen them and build up what you've done from the last game."
Boston scored twice in the ninth off closer Edwin Diaz, who came in for the non-save situation after not being used in a week.
Servais bumped Haniger up to second in the order after he'd been batting third in Robinson Cano's spot for the past month and he doubled in Dee Gordon after a leadoff infield single in the first, then drove in Chris Herrmann and Andrew Romine with a two-out double in the fourth.
Haniger is second in the AL in RBIs with 58, two behind Boston's J.D. Martinez.
Nelson Cruz moved up to the No. 3 spot in the order and continued swinging a hot bat as he went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored.
"Hanny got a couple big hits and Cruz continues to tear it up. He's right on everything," Servais said. "It was a good night offensively. A lot of guys chipped in. It was just a good ballgame and we needed that to kind of settle things down."
The Mariners got production up and down the lineup. Herrmann, making just his second start as Seattle's backup catcher, went 2-for-3 with two walks and center fielder Guillermo Heredia broke out of an 0-for-21 skid with a pair of singles and scored a run.
"It feels good," said Herrmann. "Right now I'm just kind of waiting for my chances. [Mike Zunino] is the everyday guy and I'm just trying to do anything I can to help this team, whether it's calling a good game behind the plate or tonight I got on base four times. I'm trying not to take anything for granted and just work every at-bat."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Haniger's two-run double highlighted a three-run fourth inning that put Seattle up, 5-0, on Eduardo Rodriguez, who had won six straight decisions and beat Leake six days earlier at Safeco.
"He pitched me a lot differently than he had when we were home, when he threw a lot of changeups," said Haniger. "I only saw one tonight. It was a different game plan for them. Maybe they were trying something to keep us off, but luckily we were able to swing at good pitches, hit 'em hard and get the job done."
With his 3-for-4 night, Cruz has gone 7-for-9 with a double and two home runs in the first two games of the series. It was the veteran designated hitter's first time with three-plus hits in back-to-back games since 2014 with the Orioles.
HE SAID IT
"I wanted it. I was ready. But they wanted to get Diaz work, so there's no fight there. You just have to take it." -- Leake, on not getting the chance at his first complete game since 2015 while with the Giants
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Mariners successfully challenged a wild pitch ruling in the bottom of the first and saved themselves a run when the call was overturned. With two outs and the bases loaded, Rafael Devers swung and missed at a pitch from Leake that scooted past Herrmann to the backstop as Martinez scored from third. But replay showed the pitch actually clipped Devers in the foot, which made it a dead ball situation and no runners could advance. Devers wound up grounding out to second, leaving Seattle with a 1-0 lead and preserving Leake's scoreless outing.
"Any reversal like that is big. It saved a run and a little momentum from going their way," said Leake. "I thought I heard plastic off the ball and I think Herrmann saw it too, right away."
Marco Gonzales (7-4, 3.80 ERA) takes on Red Sox ace Chris Sale (6-4, 2.74) in a battle of lefties in Sunday's 10:05 a.m. PT series finale at Fenway Park. Gonzales gave up a season-high three homers in a 7-2 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday and his six earned runs equaled the total he'd allowed in six previous starts over 38 1/3 innings. This will be his first time facing Boston, while Sale is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 10 career outings vs. Seattle.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.