The Red Sox fell to the Mariners 1-0 in walkoff fashion Thursday night thanks to Felix Hernandez, Casper Wells, and John Jaso.
While the game would end in the ninth after the departure of Franklin Morales, the story really belonged to him and Hernandez. With neither pitcher surrendering a baserunner in the first two innings, the stage was set early on for a pitchers' duel of the highest order.
The two locked-in starters would trade scoreless innings back-and-forth, with Hernandez racking up strikeouts at a torrid pace--he finished the night with 13--and Morales matching him step-for-step. Hernandez would face some third-inning trouble, as Mike Aviles and Daniel Nava produced back-to-back singles and Dustin Pedroia hit a long fly ball only to have Franklin Gutierrez run it down for the out in left-center field.
Gutierrez would end up leaving the game after providing the first hit of the night for Mariners in the fourth. Trying to pick the center fielder off at first, Morales ended up hitting Gutierrez in the head as he returned to the bag. It was a scary moment, but does not seem to have resulted in any serious injury.
Morales would escape the fourth unscathed, and pitch into the seventh before facing anymore significant trouble. In the top half of the inning, Hernandez had allowed a Adrian Gonzalez to reach second with one out after a hit and wild pitch, but struck out the next two batters to finish the frame. While the inning started the same way for Morales, with a hit, wild pitch, and strikeout, a ground ball to the mound ended up in an error as Gonzalez failed to glove the easy toss from Morales. Luckily, another ground ball immediately followed, allowing Morales to end his night with seven shutout innings to his name.
After a quick eighth inning from Andrew Miller, Felix Hernandez returned to the mound for the ninth with a very high pitch count, and once again found himself in trouble after a one-out single from David Ortiz back up the middle and walk from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Adrian Gonzalez worked an excellent at bat, but ended up only able to hit a long fly-ball to left-center, where Michael Saunders was able to track it down for the out. With Will Middlebrooks popping up the next pitch to center, Hernandez finished his ninth scoreless inning.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, a weak link would finally appear in the pitching staff come the ninth. With one out, Scott Atchison left a slider up in the zone and over the plate to Casper Wells, who doubled to the wall in center. After an intentional walk to Justin Smoak, it was another bad slider that stayed over the plate, and John Jaso ripped it into right field. Cody Ross' throw home was nearly perfect, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia simply could not come up with it, letting Wells tag the bag for the walkoff win.
|Final - 6.28.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||1|
|WP: Felix Hernandez (6 - 5)
LP: Scott Atchison (2 - 1)