SEATTLE » Shane Victorino’s two huge plays let the Boston Red Sox hang around long enough to piece together an unusual ninth-inning rally.
Brock Holt doubled and scored the go-ahead run on Rickie Weeks’ error with one out in the ninth inning, Victorino hit his first homer of the season and the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1 on Thursday night for their fourth win in five games.
Holt, Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts pieced together three key at-bats in the ninth against Seattle closer Fernando Rodney (1-2) to take the lead. But it was the two plays Victorino made innings earlier that gave them the chance.
"We’re trying to win games and play better, and we’re doing that," Boston’s Dustin Pedroia said. "We’re doing some little things, but we’re not where we want to be."
Victorino hit a solo homer in the fourth off Seattle starter Roenis Elias and made a tremendous running catch on the warning track in the seventh to start a double play and likely save a run.
With Chris Taylor on first and running on the play, Justin Ruggiano hit a drive deep to right that Victorino was able to reach over his head and catch just before crashing into the wall. He quickly turned and threw to first for the double play on Taylor to the inning. Taylor likely would have scored if Victorino failed to make the catch.
"He finds a way to put the glove up in the right spot," Boston manager John Farrell said. "That’s the difference in the ballgame at that point, otherwise they are probably scoring the go-ahead run. … He’s a difference maker when he’s on the field and he’s healthy."
Holt started the ninth by lining the second pitch from Rodney into left-center and was easily safe at second when Weeks’ throw sailed over Robinson Cano’s head. Holt was sacrificed to third by Bogaerts and pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval was hit by a pitch.
Betts followed with a long at-bat and finally hit a fly ball that was likely deep enough for Holt to score anyway. But Weeks closed his glove too soon and everyone was safe on the error.
"I was just rushing, I think," Weeks said. "I was right up under it. I was going to close my glove and was just rushing it."
Along with the offensive execution in the ninth, Boston got a key double play in the eighth from reliever Matt Barnes (2-0) after allowing two hits. Barnes got Kyle Seager to ground into a double play with Cano standing on second as the go ahead run.
"The game is on the line, his heartrate doesn’t seem to climb too much and he stays within himself," Farrell said. "It’s power stuff that is needed, particularly for that part of the lineup late in the game."
Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Joe Kelly didn’t factor in the decision, but had a strong rebound performance after walking seven in his last start against Toronto. Kelly allowed five hits and one run in 6 1/3 innings, walking only three.
The only run he allowed was Nelson Cruz scoring on Logan Morrison’s slow grounder.
"We had great defense. … Everybody out there played really, really well. Great defense honestly," Kelly said. "It was fun to be part of that out there."
Red Sox: RHP Justin Masterson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. In seven appearances this season, he is 2-2 with a 6.37 ERA.
Mariners: CF Austin Jackson went through another day of running on his sprained ankle. Seattle is still hopeful he could go out on a rehab assignment this weekend.
Red Sox: RHP Clay Buchholz (2-4) goes for his second straight victory. Buchholz matched his longest outing of the season last time out, going 6 1/3 innings in beating Toronto.
Mariners: LHP J.A. Happ (3-1) looks to win his fourth straight decision. Happ has a 3.60 ERA during his win streak with 23 strikeouts.