BOSTON (AP) — Sandy Leon was frustrated he didn’t drive one run in with a safety squeeze. Instead, he drove in three with a drive over the Green Monster.
Leon fouled off his bunt attempt, then hit a three-run homer to cap an eight-run third inning that carried the surging Boston Red Sox over the struggling Seattle Mariners 9-5 on Saturday.
“If he gets it down, we score a run and have a runner at second,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It’s always good to see him contribute offensively. We know what he can do defensively, what he does behind the plate. Whenever he contributes offensively it’s a plus.”
Mitch Moreland started Boston’s comeback from a 4-0 deficit against Félix Hernández (1-4) with a solo homer. The World Series champions won for the 15th time in 21 games following a 6-13 start.
Seattle has lost 14 of 18 and dropped to 20-22, falling below .500 on Friday for the first time since the end of the 2017 season. The Mariners have been outscored 23-6 in the first two games of the three-game series.
Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer and reached 900 RBIs.
Hernández allowed seven runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner is 0-4 in seven starts since beating the Los Angeles Angels in his season debut. He became the 36th pitcher to reach 2,500 strikeouts when rookie Michael Chavis took a 92 mph sinker for a called third strike in the second inning.
“I did. Finally,” Hernandez said smiling. “Hopefully I can play a few more years to get to 3,000.”
Rick Porcello (3-3), the 2016 AL Cy Young winner, gave up four runs and five hits — all in the first — in 6 2/3 innings. He is unbeaten in five starts after losing in his first three appearances.
“I made better pitches,” Porcello said of his in-game turnaround. “I was leaving a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate.”
Moreland homered in the second, the ninth home run off Hernández this season.
Xander Bogaerts’ RBI single and Rafael Devers’ two-run singled chased Hernández, in his second shortest start this season. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-run single off Roenis Elias put Boston ahead 6-4. With Bradley on first and Chavis creeping down the line from third, Leon fouled off his safety attempt. Three pitches later, Leon lined a fastball into the first row of Monster seats for his first homer since last Aug. 14.
Seattle scored four times in a four-pitch span with two outs in the first. Dan Vogelbach and Domingo Santana hit RBI doubles and Bruce followed with his 12th homer, a drive into Boston’s bullpen.
Boston had a nine-run third inning last Saturday in a 15-2 rout of the White Sox that included 10 straight hits, one shy of the major league record set by Colorado Rockies against the Chicago Cubs on July 30, 2010
Seattle bench coach Manny Acta was the acting manager for the second straight game. Manager Scott Servais was attending his daughter Victoria’s graduation from Mississippi. Servais is expected back Sunday.
Mariners 2B Shed Long made his major league debut, bouncing to second on the first pitch he saw and going 0 for 3 with a walk. Asked what advice he gave him, Acta said: “Don’t let all aura of Fenway Park take away from the moment – embrace it. It’s a special opportunity, know that you’re going to be here for a long time. Take a deep breath.”
“It’s a historical park,” Long said. “So many greats have played here. So many Hall of Famers that’s played here. So many Hall of Famers on the field, so I mean it’s definitely a special place to make your debut at.”
Mariners: Acta said INF Dee Gordon was still day-to-day after getting hit on the right wrist by Yankees LHP J.A. Happ on Thursday. “He’s available to pinch run,” Acta said. “He’s got to figure out how to slide and not put his hand down.”
Red Sox: Cora said LHP David Price will throw a bullpen on Sunday. Price has not pitched since May 3 due to left elbow tendinitis.
LHP Marco Gonzales (5-1, 3.08 ERA) was slated to start the series finale for the Mariners and RHP Hector Velázquez (0-2, 4.03) for the Red Sox.
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