The Boston Red Sox have experienced a nightmare of a West Coast road trip, though thankfully for them, it's almost over.
Boston looks to build on a rare victory and end its trip on a positive note against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
The end of the Red Sox's dismal road swing seemingly can't come soon enough. Boston was outscored 58-16 while dropping the first seven games before Tuesday's 4-3 victory.
It marked the first time Boston had lost the first seven games of a road trip since 1960, and the overall skid was its longest since a nine-game losing streak in 2001.
Even the win caused plenty of stress, though.
Cody Ross tied the game with a three-run homer and Ryan Lavarnway added a solo shot three batters later in the sixth inning. Andrew Bailey survived a two-out triple in the ninth before retiring Kyle Seager to earn the save."It feels good to shake hands. It's been a while. It seems like a really long time," Ross said.
Boston hasn't won two straight on the road since July 28-29 against the New York Yankees , and it will look to accomplish the feat again with help from Aaron Cook , who hasn't fared well since the last time he faced Seattle.
Cook (3-8, 5.35 ERA) gave up six runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings of Friday's 20-2 loss to Oakland, matching his shortest outing of the season.
The right-hander, though, had his best start against Seattle on June 29, pitching a two-hitter for his first shutout since 2009 and third of his career.
He is 1-7 with a 5.67 ERA in 10 starts since that outing. He'll look to get back on track against the Mariners (66-71), who are 2-3 on their nine-game homestand.
Seattle, which owns the majors' worst average at .232, had 12 hits Tuesday to mark the first time it reached double digits in its last 10 games. Jesus Montero went 3 for 4 and is hitting .444 over his last five.
The Mariners will look to get back on track with help from Kevin Millwood , who has continued to struggle.
Millwood (4-12, 4.38) gave up five runs and walked four in five innings of Friday's 9-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels , dropping him to 0-4 with a 5.97 ERA over his last six starts.
"I wasn't locating the ball, and it showed," Millwood said. "That was the first time I felt it was as much of a struggle as it was."
The veteran right-hander hasn't faced Boston since 2010, and is 2-1 with a 3.13 ERA in his last five starts versus the Red Sox.
These teams have split six meetings in Seattle this season.
|Boston Red Sox|
|September 02, 2012||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|August 25, 2012||David Ortiz||15-Day DL||Aggravated right Achilles strain|
|August 25, 2012||Daniel Nava||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|August 24, 2012||Franklin Morales||15-Day DL||Left shoulder fatigue|
|August 20, 2012||Carl Crawford||Day-to-Day||Left elbow surgery|
|August 11, 2012||Will Middlebrooks||15-Day DL||Broken right wrist - out for season|
|August 31, 2012||Michael Saunders||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained groin|
|August 25, 2012||Michael Saunders||Day-to-Day||Sore groin|
|August 13, 2012||Mike Carp||15-Day DL||Strained left groin muscle|
|August 13, 2012||Mike Carp||15-Day DL||Strained left groin muscle|
|August 06, 2012||Brendan Ryan||Day-to-Day||Left elbow contusion|
|July 18, 2012||Charlie Furbush||15-Day DL||Strained left triceps|
SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox look like two teams headed in opposite directions.
Kevin Millwood pitched six stingy innings to win for the first time in 5 1/2 weeks and Seattle beat the staggering Red Sox 2-1 Wednesday night, handing Boston its eighth defeat in nine games.
The last-place Mariners (67-71) won for the 11th time in 14 home games and matched their win total from last year with 24 games remaining. That is progress for a team that's had two consecutive losing seasons and hasn't been to the playoffs since 2001.
"It should mean something to them," second-year Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "These guys have worked hard to get better and they are better. And they're going to keep getting better."
Dustin Ackley hit a two-run single in the fourth to back Millwood (5-12), who allowed four hits and one run in his first victory since July 28. The right-hander had gone 1-8 since May 21.
Millwood walked three and struck out three. Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth for his 24th save in 27 opportunities.
Boston, one of baseball's top teams for a decade, went 1-8 on a miserable road trip for the club's worst West Coast swing since a 1-8 debacle in September 1989.
"This was not a good road trip, obviously," said embattled manager Bobby Valentine , whose fourth-place team is 10-24 since Aug. 1. "One of the worst I've ever experienced."
Eric Thames opened the fourth with a bloop single to left. Mike Carp walked and Casper Wells singled through the left side, loading the bases with nobody out.
"The walk hurt a little," Valentine said. "The base hit by Casper could have been at somebody but it was right in the hole."
After Brendan Ryan popped out, Ackley ripped Aaron Cook 's fastball up the middle.
"That one just kind of stayed up a little bit," Ackley said.
Cook (3-9) gave up seven hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out five.
The last time Cook faced the Mariners on June 29 he threw 88 pitches in a two-hit shutout for his first complete game in more than three years. Since then, he is 1-8. His last victory was Aug. 6.
The Red Sox threatened in the fourth with two outs. Cody Ross , who had three hits, and James Loney reached on singles and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked. Ryan Lavarnway bounced out to third to end the inning.
Boston finally pushed a run across in the sixth. Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and scored on Loney's double into the right-field corner.
Seattle's opponents have scored one run or less in 33 games this season, trailing only the New York Mets (34) for the major league lead. The franchise record is 37 set in 2001.
"It's nice where we're at right now after having a tough first half, coming back strong in the second half and putting it together a little bit," Ackley said. "It's exciting for the rest of the year and exciting going into next year.
"We've made improvements over earlier this year. We're turned the page as far as our hitting standpoint, getting some big hits in big situations."
That's certainly true of Ackley, who is 6 for 6 with the bases loaded and less than two outs. Overall this year he is 7 of 11 and has 12 RBIs with the bags full.
"I'm surprised," Ackley said. "The way my year's been going I didn't expect to have those kind of numbers. I wish I had more than six at-bats in that situation."
NOTES: Valentine said when Triple-A Pawtucket finishes its season, the Red Sox might call up "maybe one or two" more players. "I know (GM) Ben (Cherington) is looking around as to who we might add to the roster," the manager said. Valentine would like to have at least one more outfielder. ... OF Ryan Kalish intends to resolve his lingering shoulder issues during the offseason. "He's really concerned with something being done properly," Valentine said. "I don't think it's surgery." ... Dustin Pedroia was hitless in three at-bats, ending his season-high 15-game hitting streak. ... Mariners OF Michael Saunders (hamstring), who has missed 10 of the last 11 games, and OF Franklin Gutierrez (groin) should both be available to play Friday, according to Wedge. ... The Mariners have only three games remaining against a team with a losing record (Toronto).