SEATTLE – – JD Martinez was apparently tired of the good-natured banter he was receiving about his long home run drought.
One punch reminded everyone of the power Martinez possesses.
Martinez scored a home goal for the first time in nearly a month, Bobby Dalbec scored with a solo shot and the Boston Red Sox won for the eighth time in nine games, beating the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Friday night.
“We know he’s going to start batting the ball in the air and the ball is going to go and he’s going to be the hitter that we always see,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “This version of JD is still very good. As for base percentage, it was great to crunch at bats and get to base.
Boston opened the final leg of its West Coast swing with a bounce-back victory after ending its seven-game winning streak a day earlier.
Martinez hit a homer for the first time since May 17 when he hit a solo blaster on Seattle starter Marco Gonzales to give Boston a 2-0 lead. It was Martinez’s sixth home run.
“My swing and racquet angle were the common denominator,” Martinez said. “So I was successful, but I couldn’t lift the ball. It was just grinding on it.”
With the Mariners tied at 2-all, Dalbec opened the seventh inning with his fourth home run against Seattle’s Andrés Muñoz (1-3). Muñoz had allowed a run over his previous six games.
“He’s a very young pitcher and didn’t have many professional innings before this year and he’s learning,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais. “We see some nights where it’s just electric and unbeatable and other nights where the command is just a little bit off and those are the nights where it’s a bit of a challenge for him.”
Jake Diekman (2-0), one of five Boston Reliefs, earned the win. Seattle drew 4-3 on Cal Raleigh’s RBI single with two outs in eighth, but Matt Strahm got a flyout from Jesse Winker with the tie in third to end the threat.
Tanner Houck struggled in ninth place but made his first save of the season and second of his career. Houck allowed two baserunners but got Adam Frazier to line up to end the game in the tie in third place. Seattle left 12 runners on base.
“It seems like he’s always in control and he wants that. He wants to tackle situations like this,” Cora said of Houck.
Seattle was looking for a good start to a 10-day, 11-game homestand after a winning road trip that took the Mariners closer to .500.
But Gonzales struggled hard with control, hitting a career-high six batters and barely making it out of the first inning after throwing 44 pitches. Seattle’s only offense came early on Winker’s double homer in the fifth inning, which was likely the last batter for Boston starter Rich Hill.
Despite the rough first inning that included Xander Bogaert’s RBI double, Gonzales minimized the damage. He threw himself into the fifth, giving up just two runs and throwing 102 pitches.
Winker’s homer came on a 2-2 curveball from Hill and stayed fair on the right field line, even pulling Seattle to a 2-all. It was Winker’s fourth homer, three from left-handed pitchers.
“It was a breaking ball that came back at me and he made a good swing at it,” Hill said. “He’s a really good hitter, Jesse is. A big moment in the game for both of us.”
Seattle missed a chance for more in the fifth, keeping the bases loaded after Eugenio Suárez struck and Adam Frazier showed up against reliever John Schreiber.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock placed on 10-day IL due to right hip inflammation. Whitlock was scheduled to host Sunday’s series finale in Seattle. Boston recalled right-hander Phillips Valdez from Triple-A Worcester to take Whitlock’s place. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (hip) was evaluated in Boston and is expected to do his next rotation in the rotation at home next week. … OV Alex Verdugo was day after day with a sore knee.
Mariners: RHP Erik Swanson was reinstated from the injured list and rejoined Seattle’s bullpen. Swanson had been out since May 14 due to an elbow infection. LHP Anthony Misiewicz was opted into Triple-A Tacoma. …OF/DH Kyle Lewis is still suffering from concussion symptoms and has not resumed baseball activities. Lewis was placed on the concussion injured list on June 1. … RHP Ken Giles was at the Seattle clubhouse before the game but is expected to do a few more rehab trips into the minors before potentially joining the Mariners.
Red Sox: RHP Michael Wacha (4-1, 1.99) completes a full game against the Angels, allowing three hits and knocking out six. Wacha has not allowed a deserved run in his last two starts.
Mariners: Rookie RHP George Kirby (1-1, 3.38) makes his seventh start but only his third at home. Kirby has pitched six innings in each of his last two starts and allowed two earned runs over those 12 innings.