8/23/2014 3:40 P.M. ET
Ackley's heads-up baserunning key for comeback
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Perhaps the craziest moment in the Mariners' wild five-run ninth inning rally in Friday's 5-3 victory at Fenway Park was the sight of Dustin Ackley scoring all the way from first for the final run on a single to right by Robinson Cano.
On a play where typically a runner will go first to third, Ackley was waved home by third-base coach Rich Donnelly when right fielder Daniel Nava took his time and lobbed the throw into second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Ackley never hesitated and just beat a close play at the plate as Pedroia turned and fired to catcher Christian Vasquez as Ackley slid around the tag.
"I was surprised, for sure," Ackley said of being sent home. "I was running on the [3-2] pitch and kept running hard to third. He kept waving and waving and I was like, 'Well, I'll just keep running.' I wasn't expecting it at all because I thought it was just a one- or two-hopper to right and he's going to shut me down any second. I guess there was maybe a little nonchalance out there. I don't know what happened. But I was pretty surprised."
Donnelly said he started pondering the possibility as soon as he saw Nava move out to right field in the ninth, after playing first base the first eight innings, and take a spot about 15-20 feet deeper than starter Allen Craig.
The play only worked because Ackley was taking off on the full-count pitch and because the Mariners had already opened a 4-3 lead and Donnelly could risk pushing it further at that point.
"I noticed he was playing deeper and I said, 'If he hits the ball to his right or left and he lobs it to second, I'm sending him,'" Donnelly said. "I thought Pedroia made a heck of a play in making it close. He heard the crowd and he just turned and threw. A lot of other guys would have hesitated, but I thought he made a heck of a play to recognize what was going on, since he had his back turned.
"Ack was running the whole way. The whole way. It was luck of the draw at home plate. It was close and he made a heckuva slide. Ackley made a great play and Pedroia made a heck of a play to make it close."
Manager Lloyd McClendon credited Donnelly with having the courage to send Ackley in that scenario.
"Unbelievable," McClendon said. "I've always said you show me a third-base coach that doesn't get anybody thrown out and I'll show you a very bad third-base coach. Rich is willing to take the right chances in the right situations and that was just an unbelievable send. Too often third-base coaches don't get the credit for those type of things. That was just tremendous."
Chavez's 10-pitch walk helps spur rally
BOSTON -- Endy Chavez was playing in the 1,131st game of his 13-year Major League career on Friday night. Never before had he walked three times in the same game.
But with two outs and his team trailing 3-0, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound outfielder worked Red Sox closer Koji Uehara for a 10-pitch walk, his third of the night. And that at-bat turned out to be a key moment in what wound up as a five-run rally as Seattle pulled out a 5-3 victory on a night they'd been all but left for dead.
"I was just trying to get a pitch to put a ball in play," Chavez said. "That's the first time in my career I've taken three walks in one game. I was fighting with two strikes and trying to be selective at the same time."
Chavez knew off the top of his head this was a career-high for walks?
"I don't take walks very often. Usually the most is one in a game. So, yes, I can remember," the Venezuelan native said with a grin.
Manager Lloyd McClendon said that at-bat showed exactly the type of value the 36-year-old brings to the Mariners.
"There's nothing like experience," McClendon said. "He never panics in that situation. Looking back at that at-bat, Uehara threw him some really tough pitches. A couple he just barely fouled off. That was probably the biggest at-bat of the year for us."
Leone living his dream at Fenway Park
BOSTON -- Mariners rookie reliever Dominic Leone grew up in Norwich, Conn., about a 90-minute drive from Fenway Park, and had about 15 family members in attendance when he picked up the win in his first appearance at the historic stadium in Friday's 5-3 win over the Red Sox.
Leone pitched a scoreless eighth for Seattle, then saw his record bumped to 6-2 on the year when the Mariners rallied for five runs in the ninth.
"It was special," Leone said. "It was awesome to run out, especially when they're playing Sweet Caroline. It was a moment I'll never forget. And to pull out the win at the end was huge.
"I came to tons of games here as a kid," he said. "And every time was awesome. It's why this is Fenway Park. People have those type of memories."
Leone has a very personal memory now as the 22-year-old induced Dustin Pedroia into a groundout, walked David Ortiz and then struck out Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig. He admits his heart was pumping a little extra trotting out for his 45th appearance of the season.
"Especially facing the middle of their lineup, guys I was just watching a few years ago," he said. "It was extra motivation knowing there was some family in the stands and I wanted to put on a good show for them. It was just a great night."
Capped off, of course, by one of the more dramatic finishes in club history with five runs in the ninth.
"Hats off to those guys," Leone said. "Endy with a great at-bat. Dino with a little bloop. LoMo starting it off. Ack rounding third. It was just an all-around great effort by those guys. I get the 'W' in the books, but it's those guys who took it home."
Mariners complete comeback of historic proportions
BOSTON -- The winning rally in Friday's 5-3 win over the Red Sox was the second time this season the Mariners scored five times after going scoreless until two outs in the ninth.
They erupted the same way for a 5-0 victory over the Rays on June 8 at Tampa Bay.
How rare is that? According to Elias, the last team to score five or more runs to take a lead with two outs in the ninth after being held scoreless to that point was the Angels in a game at Cleveland in 2003.
And the last time the Mariners won a game when trailing by three runs with two outs in the ninth inning or later was May 30, 2009, at Anaheim, when Jose Lopez hit a two-out, three-run bomb and Seattle went on to win in the 10th on a Yuniesky Betancourt sacrifice fly.
That the comeback came against Red Sox closer Koji Uehara made it all the more remarkable. In 275 career relief appearances, the All-Star right-hander had never allowed more than three runs. The Mariners got him for five in two-thirds of an inning.
• When Cano delivered an RBI single to cap Seattle's ninth-inning rally Friday, it lifted his batting average in ninth-inning at bats to .429 (18-for-42) on the season.
• Felix Hernandez became the ninth pitcher in MLB history with six straight 200-strikeout seasons when he reached 204 with seven more K's on Friday. Only three pitchers have ever done so at a younger age than Hernandez's 28 -- Walter Johnson (at age 27 in 1915), Sam McDowell (27 in 1970) and Bert Blyleven (25 in 1976). Tom Seaver holds the record with nine straight 200-K seasons.
• First baseman Logan Morrison came down with an illness on Saturday morning, so McClendon had Kendrys Morales at first base and Chavez at DH for the second game of the series.