Jay Bruce hit his first home run for Seattle, a three-run shot to center field, and the heavy-hitting Mariners continued to dominate Boston’s starting pitching in a 6-5 win over the Red Sox on Saturday night.
The Mariners have hit a home run in every game this season and continued to batter Red Sox starters, with Bruce helping to chase Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1) in the fifth inning. Eight Seattle batters have hit 13 combined home runs, with nine coming against the defending World Series champions.
Red Sox starters Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Rodriguez have given up 20 hits and 18 earned runs in the series.
Boston scored three times in the ninth on three errors by third baseman Dylan Moore, all coming with two outs. With the tying run at third base after the third of Moore’s errors, Nick Rumbelow struck out Xander Bogaerts looking as Seattle barely avoided a ninth-inning meltdown for the second straight night.
Bruce’s homer gave the Mariners 24 runs in their first 22 innings of the series. They’ve scored 21 of 42 runs this season on homers.
Boston manager Alex Cora had hoped Rodriquez could provide early help for his much-questioned bullpen with a goal of six or seven innings in the start. But the Mariners started hot with two runs in the first on RBI hits from Tim Beckham and Ryon Healy, both surging to start the season. Rodriquez reached 80 pitches in the fourth inning and was pulled after throwing 105 over 4 2/3 innings. He allowed eight hits, five earned runs, with five strikeouts and three walks.
Seattle starter Mike Leake was efficient in his first start, scattering seven hits over six innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks. Leake (1-0) allowed RBI singles to Mitch Moreland in the second and J.D. Martinez in the third and got out of a jam in the fifth when he struck out Bogaerts with two men on base.
Mariners closer Hunter Strickland was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right lat strain following a blown save in Friday’s 7-6 loss. The right-hander experienced stiffness in the back of his shoulder before giving up a three-run pinch-hit home run to Mitch Moreland in the ninth inning. While Strickland’s status is uncertain, the Mariners brought up RHP David McKay and could get help as soon as next week with the return of right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak, who completed a minor league appearance on Friday night. … RHP Shawn Armstrong will throw 25 pitches from the mound for the first time Sunday since straining his oblique. … The Mariners moved third baseman Kyle Seager to the 60-day injured list. Seager is recovering from hand surgery after injuring himself diving for a ball in spring training.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (17-7, 4.28 in 2018) makes his season debut after turning in one of his strongest seasons in 2018. Porcello recorded a career best 190 strikeouts, averaging 8.94 per nine innings.
Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (9-5, 3.72 in 2018) makes his first appearance of the season after a quiet spring training in which he made just two starts. LeBlanc pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings in his last appearance vs. the Red Sox on June 16 last year.