Off the field, the Boston Red Sox were all smiles on Friday as the team announced the signing of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, but on the field, frustrations hit a new high on Friday night. The usually reliable Koji Uehara allowed five earned runs in the top of the ninth inning as the Seattle Mariners took the first of a three-game series with a 5-3 victory.
The Red Sox were already facing a challenge with Mariners ace Felix Hernandez on the mound. The Sox were able to take a 3-0 lead on a three-run home run by Yoenis Cespedes. That was all the runs Hernandez would give up. He worked 5 2/3 innings and allowed just the three runs on five hits. Impressively, Red Sox starter Joe Kelly outpitched Hernandez, shutting out the Mariners through five innings. He only gave up one hit and struck out five. But his performance was overshadowed by the implosion by Uehara in the ninth.
After the game, Kelly talked about how crazy the game of baseball can be. He told reporters, "Baseball's a crazy game. Koji is one of the best in the whole entire league and to see that happen just shows how hard the game of major league baseball is. The guy's been so dominant."
Uehara has been so dominant that the five funs he gave up in the ninth were the most runs he allowed in a game since May 5, 2009 as a starter and the most runs he has ever allowed as a reliever. With the team ahead 3-0, Uehara uncharacteristically loaded the bases. He then gave up a two-run double to Austin Jackson to cut the lead to 3-2. Dustin Ackley followed that up by a two-run single to give Seattle a 4-3 lead. With frustrations blanketing the Fenway crowd, Uehara gave up one more run on a RBI single by Robinson Cano.
Before the blown save, the Red Sox were 44-0 when leading after eight innings this season. That is how strong the bullpen has been this season, but it just wasn't meant to be last night for the Red Sox and Uehara. He has now allowed at least one run in three straight appearances. His focus seems off , which could be due to the fact that the team is out of contention and also the fact that he was placed on the waiver wire. The Red Sox have now lost five straight games.