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Mike Lowell hit a two-run single off Sean Green in the 12th inning, and the Red Sox took advantage of two outfield errors to beat the lowly Mariners 6-3 yesterday and complete Boston's first series sweep at Seattle in 15 years.
The Red Sox entered the series having lost eight of 11 on the road, leaving manager Terry Francona to say he was perplexed. They flew home for a weekend against the surging New York Yankees after their first three-game sweep on the road this season.
Boston stayed a half-game behind first-place Tampa Bay in the AL East.
Raul Ibanez and Jose Vidro hit home runs for Seattle, which lost its fifth consecutive game. The Mariners expected to be in the postseason but sunk a season-low 25 games under .500, and are in clearance-sale mode for the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. Ibanez and Vidro are top candidates to go.
Jacoby Ellsbury began the 12th with his fourth hit in 34 at-bats, a single off Green (2-3). A hit-and-run groundout by Dustin Pedroia got Ellsbury to second before Green intentionally walked J.D. Drew.
Kevin Youkilis then hit a liner that center fielder Willie Bloomquist sprinted deep for but had clang off the inside of his glove. The error loaded the bases, and Lowell unloaded them with his second hit of the game. Sean Casey, starting at designated hitter because Manny Ramirez was out with a sore knee, singled home Youkilis to make it 6-3.
Jonathan Papelbon (4-3), pitching a third consecutive day for the second time this season, created a jam in the 11th by flubbing a pickup of Vidro's leadoff squibber down the first-base line for a generously scored infield single. One out later, Vidro went to third on a single with two strikes by Yuniesky Betancourt.
But Papelbon got fading Kenji Johjima to ground into a double play to end that threat.
Craig Hansen allowed Seattle to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 12th but retired Vidro on a ground out for his second save in four chances.
Boston could have ended it far earlier.
It had the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth against Felix Hernandez before Seattle's 22-year-old ace struck out Jed Lawrie and Jason Varitek. But Hernandez then walked Coco Crisp, the No. 9 hitter, on four pitches to force in Youkilis and give the Red Sox a 3-1 lead.
Hernandez yelled at himself and slapped at the ball with his glove after his season high-tying fifth walk, then stomped angrily off the field when Ellsbury fouled out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Clay Buchholz gave up a leadoff single to Jose Lopez and one out later fell behind Vidro 2-0. The weakest-hitting designated hitter in the league this season, batting .223 entering Wednesday, drove the next pitch over the railing of the right-field wall to tie the game. Hernandez rose from his seat in the dugout and exhorted the ball out with both arms extended, then celebrated avoiding his seventh loss in 14 decisions.
Buchholz allowed seven hits and three runs in 5 1-3 innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts. He hasn't won since May 2.
Hernandez allowed six hits and two earned runs in six innings. He struck out six in his third start since returning from being on the disabled list for a sprained left ankle.
The game was scoreless in the third when Ichiro Suzuki sprinted with his back to the plate and leaped above the right-field wall to take a three-run homer away from Drew.
A few pitches later, Seattle's perennial Gold Glove outfielder kicked Youkilis' RBI single into the corner. His second error of the season scored Pedroia behind Crisp to make it 2-0.
This program aired on July 24, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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