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Closing Time: Mariners sweep to make it 8 straight losses for Red Sox

08.24.14 at 5:45 pm ET
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David Ortiz was hobbled in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his foot. The injury would ultimately make him exit the game in the sixth. (Getty Images)

David Ortiz was hobbled in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his foot. The injury ultimately forced him to exit the game in the sixth. (Getty Images)

Well, this time the Red Sox hit a bit. But it didn’t matter. They still lost.

The Sox, who hadn’t scored more than three runs in any of their previous seven games (all losses), put up a five-spot — along with 10 hits — against the Mariners in the teams’ series finale at Fenway Park. But thanks in large part to Allen Webster‘s ineffectiveness, the end result was still an eighth straight defeat for the Sox. The final this time: Mariners 8, Red Sox 6.

It’s now an eight-game losing streak during which time the Red Sox have been outscored 38-20, dropping them to 18 games below .500 (56-74).

Also staying consistent with the trend throughout the losing streak was the time of game. This time the duration of the nine-inning tilt clocked in at four hours and seven minutes. Entering Sunday, the Red Sox had averaged 3:29 per game throughout the homestand.

The Red Sox had a chance to come all the way back in the ninth, loading the bases against Seattle closer Fernando Rodney. But Kelly Johnson — who had replaced in an injured David Ortiz in the sixth inning — fanned to end the threat, and game.

The Sox stranded 15 runners, going 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position.

Perhaps the most discouraging aspects of this loss for the Red Sox was Webster’s inability to hold what had become a 5-3 lead for the hosts.

Webster, who was coming off a decent outing against the Angels in which he allowed three runs over six innings, immediately gave up a single run in in the fourth and two more in the fifth following the Sox’ comeback.

The righty’s final line included six runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings, raising his ERA over six starts to 5.81.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox in their 74th loss of the season.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– The Sox had a golden opportunity to at least tie the game in the seventh inning, putting runners at first and third base with one out. But Christian Vazquez‘s liner back up the middle was stabbed by pitcher Danny Farqhar, who then threw to first to double up Mookie Betts.

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No fracture, but David Ortiz day-to-day after suffering foot contusion

08.24.14 at 5:08 pm ET
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Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was forced from Sunday’s game against the Mariners after suffering contusion on his right foot.

Ortiz exited after favoring the foot while rounding first base on a single to deep right field. Upon returning to the base, the DH walked off the field with manager John Farrell.

The initial injury seemingly occurred in the fourth inning with one out when Ortiz fouled a ball off the inside of his foot, sending the DH to the ground while bringing on the Red Sox training staff. An initial fluoroscan on the foot after Ortiz was removed from the game did not show a fracture.

“He’s day-to-day. The foul ball off the foot obviously after he hits a ball off the wall in right and can only get to first base. It’s a contusion. The fluoroscan at this point proved negative. No fractures of any kind based on that test,” said Farrell. “We’ll check him once we get to the ballpark tomorrow and obviously throughout the night tonight.

Ortiz reached two more times (single, walk) in his four plate appearances, making it 20 times he has safely gotten on base in his last 26 plate appearances. While Kelly Johnson — who entered as a pinch-runner — hit a double in his first plate appearance, the fact that Johnson rather than Ortiz was at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, ultimately striking out to conclude the Sox’ 8-6 loss, represented a source of some frustration for the Sox.

“Anytime you lose David Ortiz out of your lineup, it’s a hole. That’€™s not to take anything away from Kelly Johnson who doubled in his first at-bat. We’d like to have David up at the plate more often than the four or five times a night to begin with,” said Farrell. “It’s someone that we miss, who’s been a main cog in our offense daily and year-to-date. Hopefully this is just a short-lived loss in the lineup for him.”

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Robinson Cano walks off field in middle of Yoenis Cespedes’ at-bat due to dizziness

08.24.14 at 2:50 pm ET
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Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano exited Sunday’s game against the Red Sox with nobody out, one on and the count 0-2 to Yoenis Cespedes in the third inning. The team announced Cano’s departure was due to dizziness.

Cano, who had lined to center field in his only at-bat, started walking off the field before any medical staff could leave the dugout. He eventually was met by Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon near the third-base line.

Cano, who signed with Seattle last offseason after spending his first nine years with the Yankees, was replaced by Brad Miller. The teams were tied, 3-3, at the time of the infielder’s departure.

Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt gets start at shortstop

08.24.14 at 10:16 am ET
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Allen Webster

Allen Webster

With Seattle sending Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound for its series finale against the Red Sox, the hosts will have Brock Holt as their starting shortstop.

With Allen Webster on the mound for the Red Sox, here is the lineup for John Farrell‘s club:

Brock Holt SS

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Yoenis Cespedes LF

Mike Napoli 1B

Allen Craig RF

Will Middlebrooks 3B

Mookie Betts CF

Christian Vazquez C

Sunday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Allen Webster vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

08.24.14 at 10:12 am ET
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Allen Webster

Allen Webster

The Red Sox will close out both an 11-game homestand and a three-game set with the Mariners on Sunday afternoon, sending Allen Webster to the mound against Hisashi Iwakuma in the series finale.

Webster (3-1, 4.73 ERA) has turned in three straight quality starts for Boston, compiling a 3.86 ERA with a .239/.333/.388 line during that stretch.

In his last start Tuesday against the Angels, Webster gave up seven hits and three runs with three strikeouts over six innings of work in what was eventually a 4-3 Los Angeles win.

“When he’s right like for the vast majority of tonight, put the ball on the ground, ground balls,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s good to see him continue to back up outings in a positive way and build some momentum and I’m sure some confidence in his own right.”

While Webster has settled down after his shaky debut this season, the third inning has continued to be a thorn in the side of the 24-year-old. Twelve of the 15 earned runs that Webster has allowed this season have come during the third.

Webster was rocked in his only career appearance against the Mariners on July 9, 2013, surrendering six hits and seven earned runs over just 2 1/3 innings.

Iwakuma (12-6, 2.57 ERA) has been extremely effective as of late, posting a 7-2 record with a 1.63 ERA over his last 10 starts.

In his last outing Tuesday, the 33-year-old shut down the Phillies for eight innings, holding his opponents to just four hits and no runs while racking up 11 strikeouts.

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Read More: allen webster, Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners, Red Sox

Brandon Workman’s latest struggle raises questions about rotation future

08.23.14 at 11:43 pm ET
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Brandon Workman

Brandon Workman

Although his time in the majors has been brief, Red Sox starter Brandon Workman already has seen his career marked by two vastly different stretches of play.

Through his first eight big league starts, Workman looked like he belonged in the Red Sox rotation, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.91 ERA. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to make eight straight starts of five or more innings and three or fewer runs allowed since World War II.

Unfortunately for the 6-foot-5 righty, the last eight outings have been a far cry from his stellar debut, with an 0-8 record and a 6.75 ERA bloating his career numbers during the second half of the 2014 season. He now has achieved history of another sort, becoming the first Sox pitcher since Red Ruffing in 1929 to absorb a loss in eight or more consecutive appearances.

Workman’s latest outing fit his current trend of ineffectiveness, as the 26-year-old was torched for 10 hits and seven earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Mariners on Saturday in what eventually resulted in a 7-3 Red Sox defeat.

Despite his discouraging box score, Workman began the game on a good foot, holding Seattle scoreless through the first three innings, including a 1-2-3 inning in the third.

“It was a quick inning,”Workman said. “I threw strikes, made some good pitches, got ground balls. … I didn’t execute like that in the fourth.”

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Read More: Brandon Workman, John Farrell, Mariners, Red Sox

Rusney Castillo on joining Red Sox: ‘I’m just ecstatic to be here’

08.23.14 at 10:49 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo still is learning his way around Boston.

But the 27-year-old Cuba native knows enough that playing in Boston is unlike any other city in the majors.

“It really means a lot for me to be a part of such a historic organization. I’m just ecstatic to be here,” Castillo said through Red Sox translator Adrian Lorenzo, answering the first question he was asked during his introductory news conference at Fenway Park after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Mariners.

Castillo said there was no debate about coming to America once he talked it over with his family.

“It really wasn’t that difficult of decision to make because I had a lot of support from my family back home,” Castillo said.

Castillo left immediately after the press conference to head back to Miami, where Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the player will stay while the team works on his work visa in the States. Once the paperwork is finished and cleared, Castillo is expected to make the trek across Florida to Fort Myers, where he will report to the player development complex for work, something that is crucial at this point since he hasn’t played competitively in some 18 months.

Castillo said he has spoken to fellow countryman Yoenis Cespedes about what it will take to adjust to playing in the majors, especially in Boston.

“So actually, I’ve spoken to Cespedes a little bit about this,” Castillo said. “He made me aware that it’s the same game we’ve played in Cuba. Success here will come down to working and grinding on a day-to-day level.”

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Read More: aroldis chapman, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, Cuba
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