Mariners Win Another Close One in Boston

SportsBoston Red SoxBaseballChris WoodwardSpring TrainingTerry FranconaDavid Ortiz

Seattle closer David Aardsma is a lot like therest of the Mariners. He wasn't expected to do a lot this season.

Chris Woodward's bases-loaded pop up in the ninth inning droppedbehind a partially draw-in infield to score the go-ahead run,lifting Seattle to a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

"We wouldn't be in this situation without him," Seattlemanager Don Wakamatsu said of his newfound closer. "But it's acredit to him. He's worked so hard. He started in spring training,bounced around from team to team a little bit and just came up on amission this year. He's found a home here."

Aardsma's not one of the bigger-named closers in the AL, but hepitched a perfect ninth Sunday to improve to 17-for-18 in savesituations.

"This year I've been throwing a lot of strikes," said Aardsma,who struggled with the Red Sox last season, going 4-2 with a 5.55ERA before missing significant time with a strained groin. "Lastyear if I threw ball one it would have been like, 'Oh, here I goagain.' This year it's not a big deal."

Just like their game-winning rally, the Mariners are quietlycreeping up in the AL West.

The rally started when Takashi Saito (2-2) walked the bases fullwith one out.

Jason Varitek hit a two-run homer for Boston, which also lostFriday's series opener. The Red Sox had won their previous sevenseries overall. It was just their third series loss in their last12 in Fenway Park.

Russell Branyan drove in the other two runs for the Mariners.

Woodward's pop fell behind first baseman Mark Kotsay and secondbaseman Dustin Pedroia's diving bid, scoring pinch runner WladimirBalentien from third easily.

"It was a long inning for him," Boston manager Terry Franconasaid. "Because of lack of command you get in a situation where youhave runners all over the bases and you have to play the infieldsomewhat in."

"I'm not usually the kind of pitcher to give up a lot of walksto begin with. I can't remember another incident like today,"Saito said through a translator.

Roy Corcoran (2-0) worked 1 2-3 innings of hitless relief.

"We keep talking about guys stepping up," Wakamatsu said."Corcoran was the story of the day. Here's a guy who hadn'tpitched in seven days."

Varitek homered over the Green Monster after Rocco Baldelliwalked to give Boston a 2-0 lead in the second.

Seattle scored runs in the third and fifth to tie it at 2.

Branyan doubled into the left-field corner to score IchiroSuzuki, who singled leading off the third.

Woodward opened the fifth with a single, advanced to second onRonny Cedeno's bunt single, moved up on Suzuki's line to right andscored on Branyan's sacrifice fly.

Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 35th base, becoming the first Red Soxplayer to reach that mark in consecutive years since Tris Speakerfrom 1912-14. He also became the first AL player to do it inconsecutive years before the All-Star break since soon-to-be 2009Hall of Fame inductee Rickey Henderson did it in 1988-90.

Boston starter Brad Penny gave up two runs, six hits, struck outsix and walked one in six innings. He's winless in six of his lastseven outings.

"You look at the last two games, the two guys pitched prettywell, sometimes you lose. It happens," Penny said.

Boston lost 7-6 in 11 innings on Friday night.

Seattle's Garrett Olson allowed two runs on fours hits, strikingout five and walking four in 6 1-3 innings.

Olson escaped a first-and-third no out jam in the sixth when hecaught off third Baldelli on Ellsbury's grounder back to the mound.Jeff Bailey then bounced into a double play.

NOTES: Francona rested DH David Ortiz and inserted Baldelli intohis spot with the left-handed Olson starting. Ortiz pinch hit andlined out. ... LHP Erik Bedard, on the 15-day DL since June 8 withshoulder inflammation, is set to start Tuesday against Baltimore.Bedard threw 54 pitches in a simulated game Friday. "I just had alittle thing in my back," Aardsma said afterward. ... Red Sox CVaritek wore a red-white-and-blue chest protector that he willauction for charity.

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