BOSTON (AP) — Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in four runs, Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer and the Boston Red Sox extended the Seattle Mariners’ franchise-worst losing streak to 15 games with a 12-8 win on Sunday.
Tim Wakefield (6-3) joined Roger Clemens as the only pitchers to strike out 2,000 batters with Boston and moved one win away from his 200th victory. But the 44-year-old knuckleballer left after giving up Brendan Ryan’s grand slam that cut the lead to 11-7 with one out in the seventh.
Boston’s powerhouse lineup had 17 hits with Saltalamacchia, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford getting three each.
Michael Pineda (8-7) allowed five runs in the first after Seattle took a 2-0 lead and gave up seven runs in 4 1-3 innings.
The Red Sox kept their three-game lead in the AL East over the New York Yankees, who beat the Oakland Athletics 7-5.
Baseball’s best hitting team scored at least 11 runs for the fourth time in Wakefield’s last eight starts. The Red Sox swept the three-game series with their 17th win in 20 games.
The loss broke Seattle’s record for its longest losing streak, set in 1992. It is the longest in the majors since Kansas City lost 19 in a row in 2005.
Wakefield struggled in the first, giving up a two-run homer to Miguel Olivo, his 14th of the season. But the Red Sox took the lead after sending just four batters to the plate.
Jacoby Ellsbury started the first with a walk and scored on a single by Gonzalez before Youkilis hit his 14th homer for a 3-2 lead. David Ortiz then singled and Crawford doubled, putting runners at second and third. Saltalamacchia then lined a two-run single to right.
Wakefield allowed just one hit through the next three innings. But in the fifth Ryan doubled home Ichiro Suzuki, who had singled. Again, the Red Sox responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning.
They loaded the bases on a single by Gonzalez, a walk to Youkilis and an infield single by Ortiz. Crawford followed with a hard, two-run single just inside the third-base line, Josh Reddick doubled in a run and Saltalamacchia singled in two more.
Wakefield ended the sixth with his 2,000th strikeout, getting Mike Carp on a foul tip that Saltalamacchia held on to. The catcher then trotted to meet Wakefield at the first-base line and hand him the ball. Wakefield received a standing ovation and tipped his cap before entering the dugout.
But he retired just one more batter before giving up four straight hits — singles by Jack Cust, Franklin Gutierrez and Suzuki and Ryan’s second career grand slam and second homer of the year.
Boston’s last two runs scored on RBI singles by Gonzalez in the sixth and Ellsbury in the seventh.
Notes: Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a double in the sixth. He has reached base in a career-high 33 straight games. … Pineda has allowed five runs or more in four of his last five starts. … Mariners manager Eric Wedge shaved off his long, drooping mustache before the game. “Everybody needs to relax and we need to smile in the clubhouse,” he said. “I was thinking about it for two days and before I went to bed (Saturday) night I did it. My wife approved.” … Boston is 24-8 in day games, second best in the majors behind the Yankees.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)