Mariners look to claw closer to Red Sox in wild-card chase

Sports

The Seattle Mariners will look to keep gaining ground in the American League playoff race against another wild-card contender, the visiting Boston Red Sox, in the second game of a three-game set Tuesday.

Seattle (78-66) pulled within two games of the second AL wild-card spot after Mitch Haniger’s tiebreaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning propelled the Mariners to a 5-4 win over Boston in the series opener Monday.

Four Seattle pitchers combined to strike out 15 batters and walk one.

Despite entering the series tied with the Toronto Blue Jays (81-63) for the top AL wild card, the Red Sox (81-65) are now on the outside looking in. They trail the New York Yankees (80-64) by a single percentage point for the final AL playoff spot.

“It’s playoff baseball, and everything counts,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It’s actually fun. Good atmosphere out there, even in Seattle. They have a good team; they’re playing good baseball.”

Boston will send right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (10-8, 3.57 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday to oppose Seattle southpaw Tyler Anderson (6-9, 4.20).

Eovaldi will be looking to build off a solid start at Tampa Bay on Wednesday. The All-Star tossed seven scoreless, three-hit innings while walking two and striking out eight in an eventual 2-1 win for Boston.

While the Red Sox were victorious, Eovaldi is winless in his past five starts despite pitching to a 2.05 ERA, striking out 37 and walking just five batters over 30 2/3 innings. His last win came Aug. 11 in a 20-8 rout of the Rays, during which he tossed seven innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts.

Eovaldi has faced the Mariners once this season, on April 24. He lasted five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out three in an 8-2 defeat. Eovaldi is 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA in five career starts vs. Seattle.

Anderson hopes to bounce back from a mediocre start at Houston on Wednesday. The 31-year-old allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision.

The Mariners ultimately beat the Astros 8-5 after a four-run rally in the ninth inning. Seattle has won five of Anderson’s past six starts after dropping the first two upon his arrival from the Pittsburgh Pirates in late July.

“I just think that this team never really gets down,” Anderson said. “Just everybody, a lot of fight — everybody in the lineup one through nine, the bench, our starters and our bullpen. There’s just a lot of fight and competitiveness in there.”

Anderson has won just once in his eight starts with the Mariners despite posting a respectable 3.83 ERA and racking up 34 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings over that span. His last win came Aug. 17 at Texas, when he tossed six innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts.

A National League pitcher for most of his career, Anderson has never faced the Red Sox in his six major league seasons.

–Field Level Media

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