Red Sox - 010 000 000 - 1 7 0 Mariners - 000 001 001 - 2 5 0Clay Buchholz was superb (8-3-1-0-11, 102), striking out a season-high of 11, but Nelson Cruz's two-out single in the bottom of the ninth won the game for the home team.
Manager John Farrell called on lefty Tommy Layne to begin the ninth inning. After getting pinch-hitter Willie Bloomquist on a grounder to shortstop (Mike Napoli made a nice pick at first of a low throw), Layne gave up an infield single to the shortstop hole. Xander Bogaerts made a play, but Miller easily beat the off-balance throw. Robinson Cano grounded out to Napoli, who looked at second before flipping the ball to Layne, who danced backwards before finding the bag for the out. Junichi Tazawa came in and went to a full count on Cruz before surrendering the game-winning single to left. The Boston outfielders were playing in, and Hanley Ramirez had no shot at making a catch.
Farrell said after the game that he made a "terrible decision" in pitching to Cruz with first base open.
The Red Sox scored first when Shane Victorino dropped a single into short right field, stole second, and scored on Bogaerts's triple off the wall in left-center. Seattle's leadoff hitter, Seth Smith, belted a solo home run in the sixth for the Mariners' first run.
In the game's final five innings, the Red Sox managed to advance only one runner past first base. That came in the eighth when Bogaerts singled and was bunted to second by Sandy Leon. He died there, however, as Mookie Betts popped to first and Dustin Pedroia grounded to short. David Ortiz opened the ninth with a hit, but Ramirez flied to deep right, Napoli struck out, and Victorino flied to center.
Buchholz deserved a better fate. He gave up a two-out double to Cano in the first inning - and then retired the next 15 batters. That streak was snapped with two outs in the sixth when Smith went deep. Buchholz struck out the side in both the sixth and seventh innings.
All five AL East teams lost tonight - the Yankees were pelted by the Royals 12-1 - so Boston remains 3.5 GB.
Betts, CFGordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
For those of you who have been staying up late this week, a definite difference in how the Sox have been playing. The W's only part of storySounds good. The Red Sox have won four of their last five games are now 17-18, 3.5 GB the Yankees, who have lost three straight. It's Boston's smallest deficit since May 2.