Closing Time: Red Sox comeback goes for naught in extra inning loss to Mariners

Rob Bradford
August 16, 2015 - 2:00 pm
It was a historic performance by Henry Owens. That wasn't necessarily a good thing. But it wasn't until the 12th inning that the Red Sox' pitching finally succumbed. The rookie starter became the first Red Sox pitcher ever to go six or fewer innings (he went six), strike out at least 10 (he struck out 10), while allowing as many as 10 hits (he allowed 10) and at least seven runs (he finished giving up seven). In short, Owens' Fenway Park debut was bizarre. The Red Sox were, however, able to put Owens' appearance in the rear-view mirror thanks to their comeback from a seven-run deficit. But in the end, the Mariners got the last laugh, scoring two runs in the 12th against reliever Craig Breslow to claim the 10-8, extra-inning win. Breslow, who was entering his third inning of work in the 12th, loaded the bases with nobody out before allowing a Mike Zunino high-chopper, RBI single for the game-winner. The Sox had fought back to tie the game with two outs in the ninth thanks a two-out, bases-loaded, RBI single from Travis Shaw. The ninth-inning rally came off of Seattle closer Carson Smith, who began the frame by walking Jackie Bradley before allowing a one-out single to Brock Holt. Xander Bogaerts' soft grounder scored the inning's first run, leading to an intentional walk of David Ortiz. The Sox proceeded to load the bases with a Rusney Castillo infield single, setting the stage for Shaw's hit. The Sox' bid at winning the game in the ninth was halted as David Ortiz found himself out at home, trying to score from second on Shaw single. "I haven't had a chance to talk to Butter [third baseman Brian Butterfield] yet but the one thing I want to say is it'€™s a very difficult position coaching third base and he does a great job. He does a spectacular job there," said interim manager Torey Lovullo. "But I'€™m sure he'€™s going to tell me he was just trusting his instincts and forcing them to make a play. It was a short hop in the outfield, a couple short hop throws at home plate and they executed the game plan." With Ortiz easily thrown out on the play, Lovullo also explained his decision not to pinch-run with Alejandro De Aza. "I know it'€™s easy to say that at this point we should'€™ve pinch-ran for him with David at second base," Lovullo said. "But the way I was looking at it, David was the go-ahead run and not the tying run. To eliminate him from this game takes such a toll on our lineup. His force, his presence in our lineup and his ability to change the game with one swing is really impressive. So to take him out of the game in that situation, I know it would be a tie game, but I just felt like it wasn'€™t the right move. I wanted to give us a chance in case it went to extra innings. It worked out that way, I know hindsight is 20/20. We have a whacker play at home plate, maybe De Aza scores, I dont know. As it turns out, looks like that should'€™ve been the move but I'€™ll live by what I did today because I just don'€™t want to take David Ortiz out of this lineup." To Owens' credit, the comeback wouldn't have been made possible if not for some key execution with runners on in the middle innings, with the visitors going just 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Another positive for Owens was that he only walked one batter, marking the second time in his three big league starts the big lefty has finished with just one free pass. But the overall takeaway from the outing was that Owens found himself with a big old dose of major league reality after giving up a combined four runs in 10 innings over his first two starts. "It'€™s going to be a constant learning process," Owens said. "I think people who aren'€™t rookies are still learning in this game. There'€™s so much to learn. I'€™m going to continue to take it day by day and then tomorrow, come out and get my work in and try to learn something watching the game." Leading the charge against the Red Sox starter was Seattle's Franklin Guitierrez, who launched a pair of home run totaling 842 feet. His first blast, landing in the center field 447 feet from home plate, was the second-longest hit at Fenway Park this season. Also homering for Seattle were Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, who now possesses the third-highest OPS at Fenway Park of any qualifying player, passing Ted Williams. Only Frank Robinson and Johnny Grubb. The Red Sox' offense didn't let up after putting up 37 runs in the series' first two games. Going deep for the Sox were Castillo and Bogaerts, whose home run was his first since June 15. During that 50-game drought, the shortstop did hit .341. For a complete box score, click here.