video thumbnail

BOS@SEA: Mariners walk off on Figgins' sac fly

SEATTLE -- The Red Sox must think the Mariners win all their games on walk-offs.

Two days after opening the four-game series with a walk-off single, the Mariners did it again on Saturday night at Safeco Field, as a Chone Figgins sacrifice fly scored Dustin Ackley to give Seattke a thrilling 3-2 victory in 11 innings.

"It's always great to get wins," said Figgins, who is batting just .181 this season. "Personally, I always come to work every day. I get an opportunity to play, you're going to get 110 percent. I'm never a person that thinks about stats. My stats are wins. For me, to get a sac fly is huge right there."

Ackley started the 11th-inning rally with a one-out single through the right side and moved to third on a single by Miguel Olivo. Figgins then followed with a line drive to right that was deep enough to score Ackley with the winning run, as Cody Ross' throw bounced harmlessly away from Red Sox catch Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

"Look for something to drive, because you don't want to take a non-aggressive swing," Figgins said of his approach. "Because if you just hit a fly ball, you've got a chance to score a run. So you really always think attack with a runner on third base less than two outs."

"It's a do or die play," said Ross. "Chone did a great job of making some good contact. It's a tough play, topspin on it, you've got to worry about catching it first and then making an accurate throw. I thought it was going to get there the whole way. It ended up short-hopping Salty, and that's a tough play for him to make."

It was a game won by the offense in the 11th, but the team was kept in the game by a long night from the bullpen. Starter Erasmo Ramirez retired the first eight batters he faced, but the rookie was forced to leave the game in the third inning with a right elbow problem. Manager Eric Wedge labeled it as "something going on with his right elbow," and said the rookie had an MRI and more will be known on Sunday.

With long reliever Hisashi Iwakuma scheduled for a spot start on Monday, the bullpen was already running low. Six of the seven relievers available ended up throwing a combined 8 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and striking out eight. Shawn Kelley was credited for the win after throwing a perfect 11th.

"Our bullpen, they were really the story of today," Wedge said. "With Ramirez having to come out of the game early ... [I] used all but one guy down there in our bullpen and kept them in tow. Really, that was the story of the ballgame."

With the way the bullpen was dealing, it appeared Seattle might score all it needed in the sixth inning. Mustering just a single and a walk through the first five innings, Ichiro Suzuki started the rally in the sixth with a one-out single. Casper Wells followed with a walk before Kyle Seager blooped a single just inside the foul line in shallow left field.

John Jaso wasted little time putting the Mariners up 2-0, sending a scorcher off the wall in right field that scored Ichiro and Wells. While the rest of the team is struggling, Jaso is 5-for-13 with a home run and four RBIs on the current homestand. He had driven in four consecutive Seattle runs until Figgins' sacrifice fly, a streak that dated back to Wednesday.

But the Red Sox immediately responded, opening the seventh with three consecutive singles to load the bases. A fielder's choice and passed ball tied the score at 2.

Seattle's offense was muzzled by Boston starter Josh Beckett through four hitless innings. Olivo finally hit a two-out line-drive single over the outstretched glove of third baseman Will Middlebrooks in the fifth to break up Beckett's no-hitter. Even with the early struggles, though, Wedge was pleased with his team's response to a disastrous offensive performance the night before.

"After last night, to be able to come back tonight in this type of ballgame against that type of club, that's what we're looking for," said Wedge.

MLB.com Comments