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BOSTON — Last Saturday in Seattle [url=http://www.officialavalanche.com/authentic-adidas-patrick-roy-jersey]Patrick Roy Jersey[/url] , Mariners left-hander Wade LeBlanc pitched what had to be the game of his journeyman career in outdueling Steven Wright and handing the Boston Red Sox a 1-0 defeat.
The Mariners haven’t won since as they head into Friday night’s rematch between the two pitchers in the opener of a three-game series on Friday night at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox won the Sunday game in Seattle and then lost the first two games in Minnesota before rebounding a 9-2 win and Rick Porcello’s ninth win of the season on Thursday.
After losing the game Sunday, the Mariners were swept in a three-game series by the Yankees in the Bronx — to start a difficult 10-game swing through the East that concludes with a four-game series in Baltimore.
LeBlanc, who has been pitching well in his latest role, is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA and has yielded only 11 earned runs in nine starts — capped by 7 2/3 shutout innings (two hits, no walks, nine strikeouts) against the Red Sox.
He is just 33-35 with a 4.23 ERA in his career, but much of the negative numbers are in the past — at least for now.
After beating the Red Sox, he said, “That’s a stout lineup over there, but the fact that me and Z (catcher Mike Zunino) were able to mix things up and put them in the rocking chair makes things easier. Everything was executed and that’s really all I can say. It’s the most important thing for me — it’s to execute pitches. Today, me and Z were able to do that.”
But the team has faltered since [url=http://www.officialavalanche.com/authentic-adidas-samuel-girard-jersey]Womens Samuel Girard Jersey[/url] , blowing a 5-0 lead in Wednesday’s game before losing 4-3 on Thursday.
“Coming in here, we have been playing very good baseball,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais, whose team has dropped five of its last seven. “We know what kind of ballclub they have with the power and the bullpen. I thought we were right in the game the last couple of days.
“But you have to hit on the road. You have to get big hits on the road. We just didn’t get it done. It doesn’t detract or take away from anything that we’ve done to this point. Our guys are not down at all.”
The Boston bats snoozed through the first two games in Minneapolis, wasting starts by Chris Sale and David Price. The bats broke out Thursday, avoiding the sweep and leaving the Red Sox (50-26) as one of three American League teams with 50 wins.
“I think it was just a couple of tough days,” Mookie Betts, who hit is 19th homer of the season Thursday, said after the game. “We came out ready to swing it and it just showed what we can do.”
Wright has been outstanding since making his delayed 2018 debut (after knee surgery and a 15-game MLB suspension). He is 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA and gave up just the one losing run in the matchup with LeBlanc.
“He’s been great. Outstanding, really,” Cora said. “I heard a lot of good things about him before I got here and he’s showed why.”
He is 2-2 with a 1.31 ERA in four games (two starts) against the Mariners. Kyle Seager is 3-for-9 and Nelson Cruz 2-for-6 (both .333) [url=http://www.officialavalanche.com/authentic-adidas-semyon-varlamov-jersey]Semyon Varlamov Jersey[/url] , and Zunino is 1-for-8 (.125) and Dee Gordon 1-for-6 (.167) against the knuckleballer.
LeBlanc is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three career starts against Boston. The Current Red Sox roster is a combined 3-for-16 against him. J.D. Martinez is 2-for-3 (.667) and no one has with more than three at-bats against him.
Wilmer Font helped cool down the surging Houston Astros before leaving with an injury.
Font and four relievers combined on a three-hitter and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Houston 3-2 on Friday night to snap the Astros’ 11-game road winning streak, which tied a franchise record.
Font (2-3) allowed one run and one hit over five-plus innings before leaving the game with a strained right lat.
”We’ll know more (Saturday), but in all likelihood he’ll probably miss some significant time,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ”He’s been throwing the ball so well for us and obviously did again tonight.”
Font, acquired from Oakland on May 25, was recently inserted into the rotation.
”I worked hard for this starting spot, and now this happens,” Font said.
Diego Castillo, Chaz Roe, Sergio Romo and Jose Alvarado held the Astros in check after Font’s exit. Alvarado got the final out for his second save.
The Rays improved their record to 8-6 during a stretch of 16 games against Houston, Washington and the New York Yankees.
Alex Bregman homered for the Astros [url=http://www.officialhockeypanthersshop.com/authentic-adidas-roberto-luongo-jersey]Roberto Luongo Jersey[/url] , who lost for just fourth time in 22 games overall. Gerrit Cole (9-2) gave up three runs – one earned – and five hits in six innings to end his seven-game winning streak.
”It’s a tough-luck loss for him because he pitched better than to get a loss,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
Tampa Bay capitalized on a pair of Houston errors to get three runs in the fourth, snapping a 19-inning scoring drought.
Adeiny Hechavarria was credited with a sacrifice fly that center fielder Jake Marisnick dropped for an error. Two more runs scored with two outs when shortstop Marwin Gonzalez made an errant throw to first on Kevin Kiermaier’s grounder.
”We didn’t make the plays,” Hinch said. ”Jake looked like he got back to the wall and either he had a little bit of weird timing and then he’s going to hit the wall and the ball came out. Never controlled it. And Marwin just hurried trying to get Kiermaier and made a low throw and got a little unlucky that (first baseman AJ) Reed deflects it a little far away. Kind of a weird way to score three runs.”
Bregman made it 3-2 in the sixth with his homer off Castillo, who replaced Font during the at-bat. Bregman has seven homers and 18 RBIs in his last 14 games.
Astros: SS Carlos Correa was officially placed on the 10-day disabled list with back stiffness but could be back in a week. Hinch said Correa saw the team spine specialist and ”everything checked out fine.” … RHP Joe Smith (right elbow soreness) allowed three hits in a scoreless inning for Double-A Corpus Christi.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) will start Tuesday for Single-A Charlotte. It hasn’t been determined if he will need a second rehab outing.
Astros OF George Springer, mired in a 3-of-40 slide, was out of the lineup. ”He’s pretty agitated about how things going for him,” Hinch said. ”Kind of a reset. He’ll be fine.” Springer was a pinch-runner in the ninth.
Hinch did a TV interview from an overhanging catwalk at Tropicana Field. Next season he plans to go on the roof of the domed stadium.
Astros RHP Justin Verlander (9-3) starts Saturday. Verlander allowed a season-high four earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 6-3 loss to Toronto on Monday. Tampa Bay will counter with a bullpen day.
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