BOSTON — Their five-game losing streak over [url=http://www.officiallightningprostore.com/authentic-adidas-victor-hedman-jersey]Victor Hedman Jersey[/url] , the Seattle Mariners send seven-game winner Marco Gonzales to the mound against Red Sox ace Chris Sale in the deciding game of a three-game series at Fenway Park Sunday.
The Mariners handed Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez only his second loss in 11 decisions with Saturday night’s 7-2 victory and now ask Gonzales to shake off his last start and butt heads with Sale in the finale.
After allowing just six runs in 38 1/3 innings in his previous six starts, Gonzales yielded six and was reached for three home runs in losing to the New York Yankees in the Bronx Tuesday night.
Sale has struck out 30 in 21 innings over his last three starts but is just 1-1 over that span. His team is just 8-8 in his 16 starts and he is 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 102 innings in 2018.
The skinny left-hander is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 10 games, eight starts, lifetime against the Mariners.
Gonzales will face the Red Sox for the first time. Boston is just 9-9 in games started by lefties this season.
Mike Leake pitched eight shutout innings to avenge last Sunday’s loss to the Red Sox and defeat Boston for the first time in his career. Closer Edwin Diaz, who hadn’t pitched in a week, worked a shaky ninth and allowed two runs, but that couldn’t taint the evening for the visitors, who took a 14-10 loss in the opener Friday.
“Unbelievable and really big for our ballclub for him to step up tonight,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Exactly what we needed for someone to shut it down and steady it.”
Said Leake: “When you have a five-game losing streak, yeah, you want to end it.”
The Red Sox, who remained a game behind the losing New York Yankees atop the American League East, fell to 13-2 in Rodriguez’s 5 starts.
While Mookie Betts (illness) was out of the Boston lineup, both teams were without their shortstops Saturday night.
Seattle’s Jean Segura missed his third straight game with an arm infection, had it drained by a Boston doctor Friday and hopes to play Sunday.
“It was bad,” Segura said before Saturday’s game. “It was hurting me [url=http://www.officiallightningprostore.com/authentic-adidas-yanni-gourde-jersey]Yanni Gourde Jersey[/url] , especially when I was swinging. I couldn’t extend my arm. It doesn’t feel right when you swing and feel pinching, like somebody is trying to grab your bat. As a player, you don’t want that feeling.
“If it feels good, I’ll play. But you can’t play around with an infection. I have to wait til it recovers.”
Boston’s Xander Bogaerts, suffered a sprained left index finger diving into second base Friday night and sat out Saturday. He was due for a game off Saturday, anyway, and the hope and Betts will both play Sunday.
“How’s Xander? He’s day to day,” manager Alex Cora said. “We’ll see. (We’ll) probably stay away from him tomorrow. We were looking for an off-day, and it just came up now. Hopefully he’ll be ready to play on Sunday.”
After the game, Cora said he hoped both would be ready to play
“They’re going to show up early tomorrow, see where they at,” Cora said. “So, we’ll go from there.”
The Mariners, 3-4 against Boston in the last 10 days, remained three games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.
The current Seattle roster is hitting a combined .200 against Sale.
Nelson Cruz is 8-for-26 (.308) with two homers and four RBIs against Sale, but Mike Zunino is 0-for-7. Kyle Seager is 1-for-16 (.063) [url=http://www.officialmapleleafsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-auston-matthews-jersey]Auston Matthews Jersey[/url] , Ryon Healy and Guillermo Heredia both 1-for-6 (.167) and Andrew Romine 3-for-14 (.214).
Triston Casas, the Red Sox top pick in the recent draft, took batting practice in the same group of J.D. Martinez before Saturday night’s game.
Maybe Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta will go longer into the Saturday afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park than he did in his last start.
The former Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs has double-digit wins in each of the past four seasons, and a career 3.57 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. But he learned in his first season with the Phillies that it is all about the wins.
Philadelphia moved well above .500 by making careful decisions, and that included pulling Arrieta after five strong innings and 70 pitches Sunday against Washington simply because the club was trailing 3-0 with one hit.
“You have to find a way to score runs. You’re running out of outs. You’re down,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of his decision to pinch-hit Carlos Santana for Arrieta after he had given up two earned runs and four hits.
Philadelphia ended up scoring three runs that inning for a tie and winning 4-3 in 13 innings.
“There was quite a bit of debate, and mostly because of how good Jake was,” Kapler said. “I was confident we could have gotten two, maybe three more innings out of him. However, we didn’t know if we were going to have an opportunity to score.
“So there was definitely internal debate, mostly because of how good Jake is and because I knew he could give us length there — and because I knew he wanted to give us length. He’s earned the opportunity to do so. But for the strategy of the Phillies, I didn’t think that was the right move.”
Arrieta (5-6, 3.54 ERA) hasn’t been winning at his customary clip, the no-decision notwithstanding. On Saturday, he’ll face right-hander Jameson Taillon (5-6, 4.05 ERA) and the struggling Pirates (40-47).
Arrieta is 11-6 with a 3.01 ERA in 21 career starts against Pittsburgh. The only time he faced them this season [url=http://www.officialmapleleafsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-connor-brown-jersey]Connor Brown Jersey[/url] , he struck out 10 while pitching seven one-hit scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory on April 19.
The Phillies opened this series with a 17-5 smackdown Friday and have won five straight and six of seven to gain a share of the National League East lead.
The Pirates have lost four in a row — by a combined 48-13, with 59 hits and 12 homers allowed — and five of six. They continue to shuffle their lineup.
“There’s no sense in keeping it the same, is usually a point I get to, because we’re not getting the results we want to get,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
In his most recent start, Taillon lasted just 4 2/3 innings Sunday in San Diego. He left with a lead in a game the Pirates won 7-5 but gave up a homer and two singles with two outs in the fourth to prompt the pitching change.
“I’m hunting a lot of good work, and I just need to keep going,” Taillon, who is is 3-6 with a 4.93 ERA in his past 14 starts, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Against the Phillies, Taillon is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three career starts. This is a rematch of the April 19 game that Arrieta won. In that game, Taillon was rocked for five runs in 1 2/3 innings.
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