By The Sports Xchange
BOSTON — Eduardo Rodriguez turned in his seventh straight quality start and the Boston Red Sox notched their fifth straight win with a 3-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
Rodriguez (4-1) allowed five hits and walked three but battled through six innings and remained unbeaten since his first start of the season. He struck out four and has the third-most strikeouts (257) of any Boston pitcher in the modern era within his first 50 starts.
Three relievers worked an inning apiece, with Craig Kimbrel adding to his early season magic with a perfect ninth for his 13th save of the season and his 27th straight at Fenway Park.
First baseman Mitch Moreland took a hit away from Danny Valencia that would have been the first hit by a right-handed batter off Kimbrel this season. He finished the game by getting Taylor Motter to bounce out — making right-handed hitters 0-for-39 against him this season.
The win moved the Red Sox within two games of the first-place New York Yankees in the American League East — the closest Boston has been since April 25 (also two games out).
The last-place Mariners (21-28) lost for the sixth time in seven games and have scored five runs in those six losses. Their best chance to score was in the second inning, but two baserunning blunders kept them off the board.
Yovani Gallardo, who lasted 5 1/3 innings, fell to 2-5 with the loss.
The Red Sox (26-21) scored a second-inning run on a groundout and added two in the sixth, one scoring on a Gallardo wild pitch and the other on a passed ball by Mike Zunino.
In four games during their current homestand — all wins — the Red Sox have been gifted six runs — on four wild pitches, a passed ball and a balk.
Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had two hits apiece for Boston.
Jean Segura had three of Seattle’s six hits. He has five hits in the last two games and is batting .346 for the season.
Rain, heavy at one point, fell from the fifth inning on.
NOTES: Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia, removed from Thursday night’s wet conditions because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, was rested after another day of rain. … The Mariners lost RHP Chris Heston and INF Mike Freeman to waiver claims, both to the Los Angeles Dodgers. … Boston INF/OF Brock Holt, battling vertigo, has been pulled from any game action for at least time being. He will continue to work out and travel with the team. … RHP Rob Whalen makes his first start with the Mariners on Saturday, facing LH Brian Johnson, who will be recalled for his second start of the season for the Red Sox. … Pregame ceremonies honored the May 29 100th birthday of John F. Kennedy, Boston’s favorite sun.