SEATTLE — Thirteen innings after touching down in the Pacific Northwest, the Red Sox still seemed to be paying some sort of strange tribute to late screenwriter Nora Ephron.
They were scoreless in Seattle.
Getting shut out Thursday night by Mariners ace Felix Hernandez? That was excusable. King Felix is an elite pitcher, and in the series opener, he was dominant as ever, allowing five hits and striking out 13. It was a masterpiece, and the Red Sox chalked it up as such.
But one hit in four innings Friday night against struggling 25-year-old right-hander Hector Noesi? Had the offense gone silent for much longer, it would’ve been time for manager Bobby Valentine to send up smoke signals as high as the Space Needle.
Instead, the Red Sox abruptly tested the limits of spacious Safeco Field. Will Middlebrooks, Cody Ross and Daniel Nava clocked solo home runs in the fifth inning, and the Sox became the first team this season to go deep four times in one game at Safeco en route to an easy, breezy 5-0 victory.
It marked the Red Sox’ 10th victory in 13 games and their 12th in 16, the gap narrowing between them and the division-leading Yankees seemingly every day.
“The first run — as soon as we got one run on the board, that was a breath of fresh air,” said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who added a two-run homer in the sixth. “We got shut out (Thursday) night. With the way (Red Sox starter Aaron Cook) was throwing the ball, if we could get a couple runs on the board, we knew we were able to get this win.”
Indeed, Cook’s eye-poppingly stellar outing wasn’t lost amid the power surge.
On the heels of Franklin Morales’ seven scoreless innings Thursday night, the veteran sinkerballer tossed a two-hit shutout against a Mariners offense that has been blanked 10 times this season and four times this month.
And here’s the kicker: Cook did it in only 81 pitches.
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