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As if the Red Sox didn't have enough hitting, now the lower part of the lineup is heating up.
Led by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Carl Crawford, their last four batters had seven RBIs and eight hits as Boston pounded Seattle pitchers for a 12-8 win that sent the Mariners to a franchise-worst 15-game losing streak on Sunday.
"Production, one through nine, is what we need," said Saltalamacchia, who drove in four runs, "and that's what we've got."
With help from the top of the order to the bottom, the Red Sox swept the Mariners, won their 17th game in their last 20 and kept their three-game lead in the AL East over the New York Yankees, who beat the Oakland Athletics 7-5.
The Red Sox lead the majors with a .279 batting average. And Tim Wakefield (6-3) has benefited from that with his teammates scoring at least 11 runs in four of his last eight starts.
Wakefield joined Roger Clemens as the only pitchers to strike out 2,000 batters with Boston when catcher Saltalamacchia held on to Mike Carp's foul tip to end the sixth then met him at the first-base line and handed him the ball.
He also moved one win away from his 200th victory. But the 44-year-old knuckleballer left after giving up Brendan Ryan's grand slam that cut the lead to 11-7 with one out in the seventh.
The standing ovation he got when he struck out Carp to reach the milestone was "pretty special, very emotional for me," Wakefield said. "I had no idea that it had happened and Salty was walking toward me. I'm like, `what's going on.' He said, `Congratulations on 2,000 strikeouts.' It was a very cool ovation."
The Mariners haven't had many enjoyable moments lately, with each result the same as the previous one - a loss.
"It seems like once again it's Groundhog Day," Ryan said. "This is definitely frustrating. There aren't too many laughs now. There shouldn't be."
Boston's powerhouse lineup had 17 hits with Saltalamacchia, Adrian Gonzalez and Crawford getting three each. Crawford is hitting .330 in his last 27 games and .375 in six games since coming off the disabled list.
"He's gotten himself comfortable real quick," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
"I thought he was comfortable before he went on the DL," Saltalamacchia said. "He was starting to get his swing back. He's a career .300 hitter. He's not going to all of a sudden start hitting .220."
Michael Pineda (8-7) allowed five runs in the first after Seattle took a 2-0 lead and gave up seven runs in 4 1-3 innings.
"He was missing some spots with his fastball and they were aggressive" in the first, Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "They're a veteran hitting team. They obviously had a plan."
The loss broke Seattle's record for its longest losing streak, set in 1992. It is the longest in the majors since Kansas City lost 19 in a row in 2005.
Ryan's grand slam?
"Nothing to celebrate there," he said. "It would have been nice to celebrate with a W."
Wakefield struggled in the first, giving up a two-run homer to Miguel Olivo, his 14th of the season. But the Red Sox took the lead after sending just four batters to the plate.
Jacoby Ellsbury started the first with a walk and scored on a single by Gonzalez before Kevin Youkilis hit his 14th homer for a 3-2 lead. David Ortiz then singled and Crawford doubled, putting runners at second and third. Saltalamacchia then lined a two-run single to right.
Wakefield allowed just one hit through the next three innings. But in the fifth Ryan doubled home Ichiro Suzuki, who had singled. Again, the Red Sox responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning.
They loaded the bases on a single by Gonzalez, a walk to Youkilis and an infield single by Ortiz. Crawford followed with a hard, two-run single just inside the third-base line, Josh Reddick doubled in a run and Saltalamacchia singled in two more.
After getting his fourth and last strikeout of the game, Wakefield retired just one more batter before giving up four straight hits - singles by Jack Cust, Franklin Gutierrez and Suzuki and Ryan's second career grand slam and second homer of the year.
Boston's last two runs scored on RBI singles by Gonzalez in the sixth and Ellsbury in the seventh.
This program aired on July 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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