A Tyler Saladino walk-off single in the 11th helped the Sox salvage a series they had no business splitting. It was made possible because Seattle shortstop Brad Miller pull-hooked a rather routine throw to first well wide of the bag. Instead of a game-ending groundout, the tying run scored, and a couple of shutout innings from David Robertson (good managing) set up the victory.
There are a lot of ways to say the Sox didn't deserve to win this one. Jose Quintana had a good curve and little else, leading to a pair of two-run homers over the first two innings and an exit after 102 pitches one out into the fifth. He struck out eight batters over his 4⅓ innings, but he needed every one to avoid damage from the 12 baserunners he allowed (nine hits, three walks).
But even though he dug a 4-0 hole, he came away with the no-decision, thanks to an offense with some fight and a Mariners team that was willing to help.
The Sox scored their first one via Logan Morrison's defensive generosity. First, he whiffed on a good pickoff throw from first-time starter Edgar Olmos, which allowed Adam Eaton to go from "out" to "standing on third." Then Jose Abreu cashed him in with a groundout to short -- except it wasn't a groundout, because Logan Morrison didn't cover first base immediately, and couldn't locate it and focus on the throw at the same time by the time he gave Miller a target.
They tacked on two more in the fourth, as Saladino drove in Alexei Ramirez with a bloop double to right, and Eaton brought home the runner on third with a groundout to second.
A Melky Cabrera solo shot in the seventh tied it up, but Zach Duke gave it right back in the eighth. Just as he was on the verge of completing a Dukelicious 1-2-3 inning, he gave up a triple to Austin Jackson, followed by a lefty-on-lefty single to Kyle Seager to put the Mariners ahead once again, this time 5-4.
That scored looked to be final in the ninth. Trayce Thompson led off with a nice single to right field, but Robin Ventura made Ramirez bunt for some reason, and it ended with a pulled-back strike, a bad pop foul, and a taken strike three for the first out. Then he pinch-hit J.B. Shuck for Geovany Soto, and that didn't work, either. Thompson saved face by stealing second on Shuck's swinging strike three to put the tying run in scoring position.
And while the Sox struggled all days in such situation, "scoring position" came true because of Miller. He did the hard work by ranging to glove Carlos Sanchez's bouncer up the middle, but he rushed the throw past a diving Morrison, and Thompson scored to tie the game at 5.
David Robertson retired all six batters he faced across the 10th and 11th innings -- with three strikeouts, giving Sox pitching 19 on the day -- and the Sox made him a winner. Ramirez started with a one-out single, then moved to second on a four-pitch walk to Tyler Flowers. Carlos Sanchez almost lofted one over the head of right fielder Seth Smith, but the flyout allowed Ramirez to tag to third, and he scored easily when Saladino dropped the first pitch in front of Smith to end it.
Outside of Duke's two-batter collapse, it was a banner day for the bullpen, which held the Mariners to this line: 6⅔ IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K. Matt Albers took the first two innings and stranded two of Quintana's runners, followed by Duke (1⅓ IP), and Nate Jones (1⅓ IP) before Robertson took the last two.