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Sox can't solve Leake as Rodriguez struggles

Special to MLB.com

BOSTON -- With the opportunity to pull into a tie with the Yankees atop the American League East standings, the Red Sox bats went inexplicably quiet as they fell to Seattle, 7-2, on Saturday night.

Managing just three hits off of Mariners starter Mike Leake, the Boston offense, which was without Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts (illness), was unable to mount any rebuttal to an early deficit that continued to mount against them as the game waned.

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BOSTON -- With the opportunity to pull into a tie with the Yankees atop the American League East standings, the Red Sox bats went inexplicably quiet as they fell to Seattle, 7-2, on Saturday night.

Managing just three hits off of Mariners starter Mike Leake, the Boston offense, which was without Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts (illness), was unable to mount any rebuttal to an early deficit that continued to mount against them as the game waned.

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Seattle's offense, on the other hand, was all over Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez from the onset, scoring a quick run in the first when Mitch Haniger followed Dee Gordon's leadoff single with a double that plated the Mariners second baseman.

"We felt, coming into the game, thinking about that first inning, we needed a shutdown inning after what happened [on Friday]," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Obviously, when that happens, when you lose like that, you come with a lot energy to set the tempo right away, and we didn't get the shutdown inning."

The Mariners would tally four more to chase Rodriguez from the game after four innings of work, his shortest outing since he went four innings versus Kansas City on April 30.

"Tonight he tried to go in and it didn't work," Cora said of his starter.

"They scored one run and I tried to keep us in position to win the game," said Rodriguez. "Then I just give up five runs. You just got to turn the page and get ready for the next game."

After Boston loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning, to no avail, Leake, who recorded four 1-2-3 innings, allowed just four baserunners over the next seven innings, limiting the hosts to any legitimate scoring opportunities.

Boston would finally put up a crooked number in the bottom of the ninth behind RBI hits from Mitch Moreland and Eduardo Nunez, but reliever Edwin Diaz was able to quell the rising storm before things got out of hand.

Video: SEA@BOS: Moreland triples for Sox's 1st run

Rodriguez (9-2) was hooked with the loss, snapping a run of six straight starts with a victory, with his last loss coming on May 15.

"The changeup wasn't working that great and the cutter was missing on the plate. That was the difference today," concluded Rodriguez.

Leake (8-4) picked up his third win in four starts after an efficient eight innings in which he threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes.

"He started throwing pitches inside to the lefties, and then he went away, and then we went back," Cora said of Leake. "We just faced him last week. His stuff was better [tonight]. He wasn't as wild in the strike zone. Last week, he was all over the place with the cutter, with the sinker, like he wasn't able to control it. Not tonight. We saw a few pitches, we hit some balls hard, too. It's one of those nights that he went eight, you look back, we put some good swings, but we didn't put good at-bats, sometimes. It was a tough night for all."

With the loss, Boston fell to 51-27, one game behind New York.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
After allowing the Mariners to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, Boston seemingly got right back into it when J.D. Martinez scored on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the frame to even the score. However, Seattle challenged the two-out, bases-loaded error as they thought that Rafael Devers was hit by the pitch after a swinging strike. The replay review confirmed that to be the case and all runners had to return to their bases before Devers grounded out to end the inning.

"We come back, we load the bases and it felt like, 'Here we go again,'" said Cora. "We score a run there and probably the feel of the game is going to be a lot different. Raffy expanded the zone twice with breaking balls, the ball hits him, then a changeup down in the zone and we don't score. The feeling of the game was like, it wasn't great."

Video: SEA@BOS: Mariners save a run with overturned call

SOUND SMART
This was the first time all season that Boston allowed seven or more runs in consecutive games, after allowing 10 on Friday versus the Mariners. It was also the first time since last year that they yielded 14 or more hits in consecutive games.

HE SAID IT
"I think everybody is feeling for him in the dugout. ... It's part of the game. He needs to stay with the approach, it's one that's working as far as the process. They should start falling. They should. He'll be out there tomorrow, he'll put good at-bats and hopefully he can square a few and find some holes." -- Cora, on Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 0-for-3 and is hitting .127 in the month of June and .178 on the season

UP NEXT
The Red Sox turn to Chris Sale on Sunday to close out their season series with Seattle. The left-hander is 1-2 in four June starts, but he has been given only 10 total runs of support in that span. In his last three starts, Sale has a 1.71 ERA with 30 strikeouts over 21 innings, to bring his American League lead to 140 punchouts on the season. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.

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