SEATTLE -- It will take more than one start, and a few less long balls, to convince the skeptics, but Clay Buchholz took a huge step back toward respectability Wednesday night at Safeco Field.
The result: The Red Sox salvaged the last game of this three-game set in Safeco Field with a 5-4 win over the Mariners. They are now 2-5 on this trip, 10-14 in June, 16-24 on the road. They are 7 ½ games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East, and seven games under .500 as they fly east to begin a three-game series Friday night in New York.
Buch-ing his past: When Buchholz began the second inning by going home run, single, home run, the Mariners wiping out a 2-0 deficit on home runs by Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino, all the hope that the right-hander had used his time on the disabled list to resolve his issues started to fade.
But Buchholz allowed just three singles until Brad Miller hit a first-pitch home run to open the eighth. He did not walk a batter, struck out two and threw just 76 pitches -- 55 for strikes -- before John Farrell lifted him after Jonny Gomes’s diving catch for the first out of the eighth.
It was the first time in 11 starts this season that Buchholz had pitched into the eighth inning.
Hits by the handful: For the second time in the last dozen games, the Red Sox reached double figures in hits. They had 11 hits, eight produced by the first four batters in the order.
Brock Holt had two singles and scored twice, Daniel Nava had three singles and knocked in a run, Dustin Pedroia had an infield hit and scored a run, and David Ortiz hit his 18th home run with a man aboard in the first and singled home another run in the second.
Koji time: He gave up a one-out single to Seager and walked Logan Morrison, but Koji Uehara recorded his 16th save with the help of a nice play by Holt to end it. Holt, playing first in place of Mike Napoli (sore toe), ranged to his right to flag Dustin Ackley’s ground ball, and flipped to Uehara covering for the game’s final out.
Trending upward: Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled and scored, following a two-hit night Tuesday. A.J. Pierzynski, who had been 1-for-18 on the trip and stranded nine base runners Tuesday, had two hits Wednesday.
Flat-lining: Shortstop Stephen Drew grounded out four times and is 0 for his last 27.