July 9, 2013: Red Sox outslug Seattle; David Ortiz’s stolen base is first of 39 consecutive steals

This article was written by Bill Nowlin

David Ortiz (TRADING CARD DB)After an 8-1 homestand against the Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays, and San Diego Padres, the Boston Red Sox headed to the West Coast to play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Seattle Mariners, and Oakland Athletics in a road trip leading up to the 2013 All-Star break.

The Red Sox won their first game against the Angels, on July 5, pushing their American League East Division lead over the Baltimore Orioles to 5½ games, the high point so far. They dropped the next two games in Anaheim but were still 18 games over .500 at 54-36 and 4½ games ahead of their closest competitors in the division.

Seattle was the next stop. The Mariners (39-49) were fourth in the AL West, 12½ games behind Oakland.

On July 8 Seattle won the first of four at Safeco Field, 11-4, a win for Felix Hernandez and a loss for Jon Lester.

For Tuesday night’s second game of the series, Mariners manager Eric Wedge had right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma – like Hernandez, an AL All-Star – as his starter. The 32-year-old Iwakuma was 7-4 with a 2.60 ERA so far but had struggled in his last four stars, losing all three of his decisions and posting a 5.58 ERA.

Rookie righty Allen Webster started for Boston and manager John Farrell. Webster had won his last start, 8-2, against the Padres, for his first major-league victory. He had appeared in five big-league games, all as starter, and had a 7.88 ERA.

The game quickly turned into a slugfest. In the bottom of the first, Webster gave up a one-out single to second baseman Nick Franklin, then a two-out home run to left-center by DH Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox struck back when DH David Ortiz led off the second with a home run to right field, the 419th of his career.

A leadoff single and two walks loaded the bases for the Mariners with one out in the bottom of the second. Shortstop Brad Miller doubled into the right-field corner, clearing the bases and giving Seattle a 5-1 lead.

Iwakuma retired Daniel Nava to begin the third. From there, it took just 10 pitches and four batters for the Red Sox to draw even. Shane Victorino singled up the middle and Dustin Pedroia homered to left-center. Ortiz doubled to center and first baseman Mike Napoli hit a first-pitch opposite-field homer to right-center for a 5-5 tie.

The Red Sox kept on going. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a ground-rule double to left. Shortstop Jose Iglesias swung and struck out but reached first base on a wild pitch, while Saltalamacchia ran to third. Third baseman Brock Holt’s sacrifice fly to right brought in the inning’s fifth run.

Boston had a 6-5 lead, which lasted just one pitch into the bottom of the third. Morales tied it with a solo homer leading off for Seattle, his second home run of the game. Third baseman Kyle Seager singled. After one out, Farrell had Alfredo Aceves relieve Webster. Right fielder Michael Saunders tripled to center for a 7-6 Mariners lead. Aceves got the next two batters to ground to short, stranding Saunders at third. All seven Seattle runs were charged to Webster.1 

The Mariners had scored in each of the first three innings. They had scored in the fourth inning through the eighth the night before, making it a franchise-record eight consecutive run-scoring innings.2

Iwakuma had pitched at least six innings in 16 of his first 18 starts in 2013, but Wedge went to his bullpen in the fourth, calling on Blake Beavan for his first appearance since June 30. Beavan hit the first batter he faced, Nava. He then walked Victorino, and Pedroia singled in Nava with the tying run. With men on first and second and nobody out, Boston was positioned to go back ahead, but Beavan retired the next three batters.

Red Sox pitchers finally put up a scoreless inning in the fourth, as Craig Breslow relieved Aceves and gave up a pair of singles but no runs.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., just recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, followed with a two-out solo home run to right-center in the fifth – the fourth homer of the game for the Red Sox – giving Boston an 8-7 lead.3

Both bullpens took charge over the next few innings. For Seattle, Danny Farquhar and Charlie Furbush combined for scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh. Breslow and Andrew Bailey kept Seattle off the scoreboard for four innings in a row, from the fourth through the seventh.

It was still 8-7 when Victorino led off the eighth with a homer. One out later, Ortiz singled to right. Wedge had Carter Capps take over from Furbush. Napoli struck out, but the 37-year-old Ortiz successfully stole second base. The Seattle Times blamed the “absent-minded” Capps, who “failed to look the runner back to first.”4

Ortiz’s steal soon led to more runs for Boston. Capps intentionally walked Saltalamacchia, then gave up back-to-back singles by Iglesias and Holt. Each drove in a run and the score stood Boston 11, Seattle 7.

Seattle made the final totals closer with an eighth-inning run off Junichi Tazawa, as Saunders scored from third on Miller’s groundout. Koji Uehara closed out the game for the Red Sox, inducing two groundouts to third base and a popup to the catcher.

Relief pitching and power hitting had made the difference for Boston, aided by an unlikely-but-shrewd stolen base.

Five Red Sox relievers had allowed just one run over the final 6⅔ innings. Breslow got the win, giving him a record of 3-2. His 2⅓ innings pitched was his longest stint of the season, during which he ultimately appeared in 61 games, throwing 59⅔ innings with a 1.81 earned-run average.5 Bailey was credited with his seventh hold and Uehara with his sixth save. Beavan bore the loss, dropping to 0-2.

Boston had slugged five homers, a season high. Pedroia had three RBIs and Ortiz had a 4-for-5 game.6

Ortiz’s eighth-inning stolen base – instrumental to the three-run surge that gave Boston some breathing room – was one of only 17 steals in Ortiz’s career, which spanned 20 years and 2,408 games. He stole four bases in in 2013, a career high, without being caught.

The Red Sox were efficient in stealing bases in 2013. They swiped 123 bases, third most in the AL, while being caught only 19 times, the fewest in the league. Ortiz’s steal in Seattle was the first in a string of 39 consecutive stolen bases by Red Sox baserunners, ranging from this July game all the way through the final game of the year.7

Nineteen more Red Sox runs followed in the next two games, both of which were Boston wins. When the road swing moved to Oakland on July 12 for a series between first-place teams, the winning streak reached four with a 4-2 Red Sox victory.

Even after losing the last two games against the A’s, the Red Sox went to the All-Star break with a 58-39 record, best in the AL, and a 2½-game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays, who had won 14 of 16 before the break.8



This article was fact-checked by Mike Huber and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org for pertinent information, including the box score and play-by-play. Some highlights of the game are available on YouTube.






1 Webster was dispatched to Triple-A Pawtucket and did not get into another major-league game until September 15. His record for the year was 1-2 with an ERA of 8.60.

2 Peter Abraham, “Bullpen Bails Out Red Sox,” Boston Globe, July 10, 2013: C1.

3 Bradley was a rookie in 2013 and had appeared in 19 games for Boston, but had hit for only a .154 average and after the June 5 game had been sent back to Triple A. This was his second career home run, the first coming on June 4 against the Texas Rangers. He was taking the place of Jacoby Ellsbury, out briefly with a sore wrist. The Red Sox had been battling a number of injuries and “in the last 32 days had made 38 roster moves involving 21 different players.” Peter Abraham, “Bradley Back to Provide Reinforcement,” Boston Globe, July 10, 2013: C3.

4 Geoff Baker, “Boston Rocks Iwakuma, M’s,” Seattle Times, July 10, 2013: C1.

5 Only fellow reliever Uehara (1.09) and starter Clay Buchholz (1.74) had better ERAs in 2013.

6 Based on statistics compiled by the Elias Sports Bureau, Ortiz’s single in the eighth inning was regarded as tying him with Harold Baines for the most hits ever by a designated hitter at 1,688. Under Elias’s accounting, Ortiz’s second-inning double in the Red Sox’ next game, an 11-4 win over the Mariners on July 10, broke Baines’ mark. Baker, “Boston Rocks Iwakuma, M’s.”

Another source, Baseball-Reference.com, credits Baines with 1,690 hits as a designated hitter, making Ortiz’s second hit in the July 10 game the record-tier and his hit against Oakland on July 13 the record-breaker. A third source, Retrosheet.org, is consistent with Baseball-Reference.com but separates Baines’ 1,690 hits into 1,664 as a designated hitter and 26 while pinch-hitting for a designated hitter. The author thanks John Fredland of the Games Project, Baseball-Reference.com’s Adam Darowski, and Retrosheet.org’s Tom Thress for their insights into Baines’ hit totals.

7 In the Red Sox’ fifth game of the 2014 season, Grady Sizemore stole second in the second inning, to make it 40 successful steals in a row, but in the sixth inning of that same April 4 game, Pedroia was caught stealing and the streak was snapped. In the 2013 postseason, Red Sox players stole 12 bases but were caught stealing twice. 

8 Boston eventually finished at 97-65, topping the A’s for the AL’s best record by one game and winning the division over the second-place Rays by 5½ games. The Red Sox then beat Tampa Bay in the American League Division Series, the Detroit Tigers in the AL Championship Series, and the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Seattle was 71-91 in 2013, 25 games behind Oakland.

Additional Stats

Boston Red Sox 11, Seattle Mariners 8, at Safeco Field, Seattle


Boston Red Sox 11
Seattle Mariners 8

Safeco Field
Seattle, WA


Box Score + PBP:

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