BOSTON — The Seattle Mariners had to put in some hard work for their first-ever three-game sweep at Fenway Park — more than four hours worth.
Dustin Ackley had three hits and scored three runs, and surging Seattle outlasted Boston 8-6 to finish off the series sweep of the Red Sox on Sunday.
“That’s probably the best word I can probably think of is very draining,” said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. “It was a tough day in a lot of different ways for us, but in the end we got the win, so that makes everything OK.”
It was Seattle’s first-ever sweep of a three- or four-game series at Fenway in 63 all-time meetings between the clubs.
And it hardly was easy.
Seattle scored five times with two outs in the ninth inning Friday to stun Boston 5-3, and then overcame an early three-run hole Saturday with a seven-run fourth inning en route to a 7-3 victory.
As the game neared the four-hour mark Sunday, Seattle closer Fernando Rodney loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but struck out designated hitter Kelly Johnson to finish off his 38th save.
“I think this had to be the craziest series we’ve been in this year just as far as back and forth, coming from behind, scoring a lot of runs, rallying. All that’s huge,” said Ackley, who is 13-for-25 in six games against Boston this season. “How we rallied and how we came back, that’s big confidence builders for the rest of the season.”
Center fielder Austin Jackson had two hits and scored twice, and third baseman Kyle Seager and second baseman Brad Miller had two RBIs apiece for the Mariners, who have won 14 of their last 18 games to match their win total (71) for all of last season.
“I think we just got the last blow in,” McClendon said. “That’s what happened, because they were coming back and we came back and they came back, and we were able to hold on.”
Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes went 3-for-4 with a walk and third baseman Will Middlebrooks drove in three runs for the Red Sox, who have lost eight straight games.
The Red Sox left 15 men on base and have stranded 76 runners during their current slide.
Boston designated hitter David Ortiz left the game in the sixth inning with a right foot contusion after fouling a pitch off his foot in the fourth.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Ortiz is day-to-day.
“Anytime you lose David Ortiz out of your lineup, it’s a hole,” he said. “It’s someone that we miss that’s been a main cog in our lineup daily year to date. Hopefully this is just a short-lived loss in the lineup for him.”
Trailing 5-3 after jumping out to a 3-0 lead, the Mariners crept within one in the fourth on right fielder Chris Denorfia’s sacrifice fly and took a 6-5 lead in the fifth on left fielder Ackley’s RBI triple and Miller’s sacrifice fly.
After Seager’s RBI single in the eighth made it 7-5, Boston got one back in the bottom half on Johnson’s RBI double, but Johnson was stranded on third when Tom Wilhelmsen struck out right fielder Allen Craig.
Miller added an RBI double in the ninth.
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma lasted a season-low 2 1/3 innings, but six relievers held the Red Sox to one run the rest of the way.
Dominic Leone (7-2) earned the win with 2 2/3 hitless innings.
The Mariners tallied five hits off Allen Webster in the first, taking a 3-0 lead on consecutive RBI singles by designated hitter Kendrys Morales, Seager and first baseman Logan Morrison.
But Boston answered with three runs off Iwakuma in the second, and then chased him in the third.
“I couldn’t find a good rhythm on the mound,” Iwakuma said through a translator. “I was able to throw strikes but I wasn’t able to execute when I needed to and that kind of cost me today.”
Cespedes delivered Boston’s first run on a base hit and Middlebrooks tied the game with a two-run single.
The Red Sox took the lead in the third on first baseman Mike Napoli’s groundout, and Iwakuma’s afternoon was over after allowing an RBI double to Middlebrooks that staked Boston to a 5-3 edge.
After giving up two runs in his previous four starts, Iwakuma allowed a season high-tying five runs on six hits. The right-hander walked one and struck out one.
Webster (3-2) lasted 4 1/3 innings, yielding six runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts.