B2B jacks not enough as Sox slip in WC

Bogaerts, Devers respond to rough 7th inning with homers in eighth

September 14th, 2021

SEATTLE – Back-to-back home runs by and in the eighth inning gave Boston hope, but the Red Sox couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 5-4 to the Mariners on Monday night at T-Mobile Park.

Boston’s loss, along with the Yankees’ win over Minnesota, put the Red Sox into a tie with New York for the second American League Wild Card spot. Boston entered Monday tied with Toronto, but the Blue Jays beat Tampa Bay to claim the top Wild Card spot.

In addition to falling into a tie with their heated rivals, the Red Sox also gave up ground to their current opponent. Seattle is only two games back of both Boston and New York. Oakland didn’t play Monday and is 2 1/2 games back. It was Boston's fifth straight one-run game, and it is 2-3 in those contests.

The seventh inning spelled disaster for Boston. First baseman Kyle Schwarber mishandled a hard-hit grounder down the first-base line, allowing pinch-hitter Jake Bauers to reach first safely. J.P. Crawford got another base hit to shallow center before Mitch Haniger crushed one off Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier that went over the left-field wall, breaking the 2-2 tie.

"It was in the glove, and squirted out,” Schwarber said, describing the play. “And that was it. I was frustrated. I wanted to make the play. It's a 1-2-3 inning, and it turns into a lot more.”

Brasier took the loss, dropping him to 0-1 this season.

Despite responding with consecutive dingers from Bogaerts (21) and Devers (34) in the next frame, Boston couldn’t recover from the extra life it gave Seattle.

“Like I always said, you give the opposition more than 27 outs,” said manager Alex Cora, “most of the time, they're going to take advantage. And it seems like right now, whenever we open up the window for them, or the door, whatever you want to call it, they take advantage and we pay the price.”

Red Sox pitchers had only allowed eight runs in their last four games, good for a 2.00 ERA

After a rocky start to the game, starting lefty Eduardo Rodriguez found his footing. He tossed six innings and allowed six hits and two runs (one earned), while striking out six, but struggled to keep his pitch count down.

The 28-year old Venezuelan racked up 50 pitches over the first two frames, but settled down after that. He didn’t allow another run over the next four innings, during which he threw only 57 pitches.

“That game was a grinder for me,” Rodriguez said. “All the way from the first inning to six. They were locating my pitches pretty good. That’s not something any pitcher wants. You want to get quick outs, like I did in the last four innings.”

José Iglesias hit his first home run for the Red Sox this season, and the third in his Boston career. He played for the team from 2011 to 2013, when he was traded to Detroit and went on to finish second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. Iglesias was released by the Angels on Sept. 4, but reunited with the BoSox three days later. He has nine homers this season.

The second baseman notched his second RBI of the night when he landed a high fly ball perfectly between Seattle first baseman Ty France and right fielder Mitch Haniger in the top of the fifth, sending Alex Verdugo home from third and tying the score at 2-2.

“He competes and that's the good thing about him,” Cora said of Iglesias. “In the last few years, he's become a very pesky hitter. He puts one in play, fights at-bats, and he ran into a pitch and gave us some life in the dugout.

“He is a good player. He's a veteran guy that knows what he wants to do. And we're very pleased with the way he's playing for us.”

Iglesias finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and is now hitting .400 (6-for-15) in seven games played for Boston, and .264 overall in 2021.