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Battle Of Bottom-Feeders Ends With Sox Win

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SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 04:  James Loney #22 of the Boston Red Sox doubles against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 4, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 04: James Loney #22 of the Boston Red Sox doubles against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 4, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) _ The longest Red Sox skid in more than a decade
lasted only a week.

It felt much longer to those involved in Boston’s downward
spiral that finally came to an end on Tuesday night.

“It feels good to shake hands. It’s been a while. It seems like
a really long time,” Boston outfielder Cody Ross said.

Ross hit a tying three-run homer in the sixth inning, Ryan
Lavarnway connected two batters later and the Red Sox snapped their
seven-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.

The Red Sox were looking at an eighth straight setback with
another lackluster effort on this miserable road trip before
pulling even thanks to a rally that took just six pitches.

Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury opened the sixth with singles
off Seattle starter Blake Beavan (9-9) before Ross hit his 20th
homer of the season. After recovering to get two outs, Beavan left
a pitch up in the zone to Lavarnway and he lined his first homer
off the out of town scoreboard beyond the left field bullpens.

“Our guys looked happy after the game,” Red Sox manager Bobby
Valentine said. “It’s great to see them with smiles and coming
from behind … it was a good win. Maybe it will get something
started.”

The Red Sox appeared ready for the losing to end, with most
leaping to the dugout railing to see Ross’ homer sail over the head
of left fielder Trayvon Robinson. Boston had previously missed
scoring chances in the first, second and fifth innings with runners
in scoring position.

The quick turn of fortunes for Boston made a winner out of Jon
Lester (9-11), who gave up consecutive homers to Franklin Gutierrez
and Kyle Seager in the third, but otherwise avoided damage.

Eric Thames hit a two-out, two-strike triple in the ninth for
Seattle off Andrew Bailey to keep the Mariners hopes alive. But
Bailey got Seager to fly out to right to end it for his second save
in three chances.

Boston’s seven-game slide started with the opening of a West
Coast swing through Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle. According to
the Red Sox, from information provided by the Elias Sports Bureau,
it was the first time Boston had dropped the first seven games of a
road trip since 1960. The losing streak was the longest since a
nine-game skid during the 2001 season.

The losing streak seemed to be the cap to a miserable last few
months for the Red Sox, who have tumbled to fourth place in the AL
East. Speculation about Valentine’s future hit a peak here when
general manager Ben Cherington and owner John Henry joined the
team.

But Ross and others are trying to make clear that even though
the Red Sox are out of the playoff race there is still something
worth playing for during the final month.

“There’s a lot at stake right now,” Ross said. “Even though
we’re not in the hunt there’s jobs at stake, guys have to stay
hungry and go out and battle and win a spot for next year, whether
you’re a young kid or a free agent or whatever.”

Pedroia’s single to start the inning extended his hitting streak
to a season-high 15 games. Following Ross’ homer, Beavan recovered
to get James Loney and Jared Saltalamacchia on fly outs before
Lavarnway came through with his first home run for the Red Sox
since a two-homer game Sept. 27, 2011, against Baltimore.

Lester needed 111 pitches to get through six innings, but worked
out of jams in the first and second innings leaving runners
stranded at third base. Jesus Montero had three hits off Lester,
including a two-out RBI single in the first. Gutierrez homered to
deep center field on the first pitch of the third inning and, two
pitches later, Seager hit his 16th of the season into the right
field seats.

Lester gave up nine hits for the second straight start, but
struck out four and won for the fourth time in his last five
outings.

“It wasn’t easy, a bit of a grind, but it’s big for us to score
those runs in that inning and have the bullpen come in there and do
a good job after that,” Lester said.

NOTES: Seattle ace Felix Hernandez was named the AL pitcher of
the month for August. Hernandez was 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five
starts, including the 23rd perfect game in baseball history. …
Boston recalled RHP Clay Mortensen from Double-A Portland before
Tuesday’s game. It was the sixth time this season he’s been called
up from the minors this season. … Seattle hit back-to-back homers
for the third time this season and first since July 2 versus
Baltimore.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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