BOSTON — With the non-waiver trade deadline less than 24 hours away, Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Tuesday night’s game he’s comfortable with the rotation he’ll use until injured right-hander Clay Buchholz returns.
Rookie Brandon Workman then went out and fulfilled his boyhood dream by earning his first major league win.
Workman struck out nine and gave up one run in six innings, and Boston hit three homers to rebound from Monday night’s tough loss to the Tampa Bay Rays with an 8-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
“It’s great,” said an elated Workman. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a boy. To make that happen tonight was great.”
The win kept the Red Sox a half-game behind the rampaging Rays in the AL East.
Workman, making his third major league start in place of Buchholz, who probably won’t return until September, allowed six hits and walked one.
Two slumping Red Sox regulars, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia, provided the bulk of the offense against Joe Saunders (9-10). Victorino, in a 1-for-17 spin coming in, had three hits, including two doubles, and scored three runs in the first four innings. Pedroia, 3-for-40 since the All-Star break through his first at-bat Tuesday, hit a two-run homer (No. 7) and added an RBI single.
Pedroia snapped an 0-for-16 with his homer.
“He’s throwing the ball great,” Pedroia said of Workman (1-1). “He’s attacking the zone. He’s got great stuff. He’s tough out there. He doesn’t look like a young guy. He looks like a veteran guy. He’s been throwing the ball great.”
Jacoby Ellsbury, the third member of the top three in the batting order, hit a solo homer (No. 5), and cleanup hitter David Ortiz drove in a first-inning run with a single. Jarrod Saltalamacchia added a two-run homer (No. 9) in the eighth.
Workman ended his night by escaping a jam in the sixth. Three straight singles loaded the bases before he struck out Michael Morse (for the third time) and Justin Smoak.
“We did have a chance in the sixth,” said Robby Thompson, Seattle’s interim manager with Eric Wedge recovering from a mild stroke.
Asked about Workman, Thompson said, “He threw the ball well. I believe the last few outings that he’s had, he’s thrown the ball very well.
“He’s got a good, live fastball and a cutter and a slider, and he really got a feel for the curveball — he didn’t have that early. He got a good feel for the curveball, and he was throwing it for strikes and throwing it out of the zone for some chase pitches, too. I thought his stuff was pretty good. He’s got a good arm.”
Said Workman: “It’s great that (the Red Sox) have confidence in me, to let me make these starts and think that I can help contribute. It’s something I’m trying to make the most of.”
After Workman’s exit, three relievers then worked an inning apiece, Pedro Beato giving up a meaningless run in the ninth.
Seattle has lost four of six since an eight-game winning streak.
Saunders, who has lost two straight, yielding five earned runs in both, was a victim of sloppy first-inning defense and a tight strike zone. He wound up allowing six total runs on nine hits in five innings.
“I was throwing good pitches. I wasn’t getting much help,” he said. “Just a tough night.”
Was the help not coming from both the umpires and his teammates?
“Just in general,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about either of them, I’ll just get myself in trouble. It was just a tough night for us. We didn’t get any breaks. They got some breaks — it was just one of those nights.”
NOTES: Ellsbury’s homer was the first Saunders allowed to a left-handed hitter since Sept. 28, 2011. … Boston leads the season series 4-1. … The Red Sox honored the 25th anniversary of “Morgan’s Magic,” the 1988 run to a division title under then-interim manager Joe Morgan. Roger Clemens was among the players on hand for the pregame ceremony. Clemens, found not guilty in a federal perjury trial regarding his comments to Congress, was asked about the current PED situation, and he said, “I’ve got my own feelings on particular people in MLB; you know how they approached my situation. But I can’t comment on that.” … Morse returned after missing over a month with a quad strain and looked lost at the plate, going 0-for-4. … All-Star RHP Hisashi Iwakuma faces Boston RHP John Lackey on Wednesday night, with RHP Felix Hernandez going for the M’s on Thursday against RHP Ryan Dempster. … Farrell said he appreciated umpire Jerry Meals admitting blowing the call at home in the eighth inning Monday but noted, “It doesn’t change the outcome.” Like Tampa Bay counterpart Joe Maddon, Farrell is in favor of increased replay use, saying a centralized replay location, a la the NHL, could be the answer.