The starters were two right-handers, Ryan Franklin for the Seattle Mariners and Curt Schilling for the Boston Red Sox. The 31-year-old Franklin, in his fifth major-league season, was 3-14 with a 5.31 earned-run average for the Mariners, who were in last place in the American League West Division, 29 games behind the first-place Oakland A’s. Franklin’s last outing had been against the Chicago White Sox, in Chicago, on September 4. He was hit for seven runs in 3⅔ innings. The last time he had won a game was June 5.
Schilling was 18-6 (3.38) for the Red Sox, and he had won five straight decisions. Boston had won 20 of 22 games before dropping the September 9 series opener to Seattle. The Red Sox were just 3½ games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
As it played out, it was a close game through the first five innings. The Mariners scored first, in the bottom of the second, picking up a run on a leadoff double to left field by left fielder Raúl Ibañez, promptly followed by a double down the right-field line by second baseman Bret Boone, both batters taking outside fastballs and hitting to the opposite corners.1 Schilling got first baseman Scott Spiezio to ground out, Boone taking third, and then struck out the next two batters.
After three innings, the Red Sox were still hitless against Franklin, though one batter had worked a walk and another was hit by a pitch. Boston turned the score around in the top of the fourth. Left fielder Manny Ramírez tied the game with a first-pitch leadoff home run over the wall in left field. It was Ramírez’s league-leading 40th homer of the season.
Designated hitter David Ortiz walked and catcher Jason Varitek singled to right-center. The runners moved up to second and third as first baseman Kevin Millar grounded to Franklin, who recorded an unassisted out. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera hit a ball to the warning track in right field for a sacrifice fly, allowing Ortiz to tag and score for a 2-1 Boston lead.
The Mariners quickly drew even on Boone’s one-out solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. The game remained tied until the Red Sox batted in the sixth.
Jumping on Franklin’s first pitch of the inning, as Ramírez had done in the fourth, Ortiz led off with a home run to right, “once again barely sneaking over the wall.”2 Ortiz’s 37th homer of the season made it the 12th game of 2004 in which both he and Ramírez had homered, setting a new team record.3
One out later, Millar reached when José López mishandled his grounder to shortstop. Cabrera flied out for the second out, but third baseman Bill Mueller singled to right. Dave Roberts, playing right field for the Red Sox, lined a double to center, driving in Millar. Johnny Damon hit a triple down the right-field line, pushing across two more runs for a 6-2 lead.
Mariners manager Bob Melvin called on Masao Kida to relieve Franklin. Second baseman Mark Bellhorn singled to right and drove in the fifth run of the inning. Manny Ramírez walked on nine pitches, but Ortiz ended the inning with a grounder, second to first. The last four Red Sox runs had scored after there were two outs.
Schilling retired the Mariners in order in the sixth, and then the Red Sox batters went to work once more in the top of the seventh, batting around again. The inning seemed to stall when Millar followed Varitek’s single by grounding into a double play, but Cabrera singled, and walks to Mueller and Roberts loaded the bases.
Aaron Taylor relieved Kida. Damon singled to right, driving in Cabrera. Bellhorn walked, forcing in another run. Pokey Reese ran for Bellhorn. Bellhorn could have made it around the bases easily enough, though, because Manny Ramírez swung at Taylor’s 1-and-1 pitch and connected for a grand slam to left field. That made it six runs in the inning – again all of them scoring after two outs – and increased Boston’s lead to 13-2.
For Ramírez, it was his second homer of the game, 41st of the season, and 387th of his career. It was also his second grand slam of the season, and the 17th of his career, tying him for fifth on the all-time list.4
In the Mariners’ seventh, Red Sox manager Terry Francona brought in three substitutes on defense, to give his regulars a bit of a break. Adam Hyzdu replaced Dave Roberts in right field, and Roberts moved to left in place of Ramírez. Doug Mientkiewicz replaced Millar at first base. Gabe Kapler replaced Damon in center. Reese, who’d run for Bellhorn, took over for him at second base. Schilling faced three Mariners and got outs from all three, on a groundout to Mientkiewicz, a strikeout, and a foul popup to third base.
In the eighth, the veteran Seattle closer Shigetoshi Hasegawa got in some work. He struck out Trot Nixon, pinch-hitting for Varitek. Mientkiewicz grounded out, second to first. Ricky Gutierrez pinch-hit for Cabrera and flied out deep to center field.
Curtis Leskanic came in from the bullpen, taking over from Schilling. Doug Mirabelli entered as his catcher. Nixon played right field, Hyzdu moving to left. Reese moved over to shortstop, and Gutierrez played second. Kevin Youkilis replaced Bill Mueller at third base. Every Red Sox player who had started the game had been replaced, except Ortiz as DH.
Seattle catcher Dan Wilson singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Leskanic struck out Lopez. Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a force play, his last at-bat in an 0-for-4 night that ended a 14-game hitting streak. At 229 hits for the season, with 22 games remaining, Ichiro was challenging the major-league record of 257 hits, which the St. Louis Browns’ George Sisler had held since 1920.5
J.J. Putz, Seattle’s fifth pitcher of the game, worked the top of the ninth and, just as Hasegawa had done, retired the Red Sox in order.
Scott Williamson took over from Leskanic, hoping to hold the 11-run lead and secure a win for the Red Sox. That he did, with a strikeout, a groundout, a walk to Spiezio, and another groundout.
It was the fifth game in a row during which Schilling had not walked a single batter. His record improved to 19-6.6 He had been 10-3 following Boston losses and had won the last six in a row.7 Franklin’s record fell further, to 3-15. Since his June 5 win, he had lost 11 times and had six no-decisions.8 The Red Sox picked up a game on the Yankees, who lost in Baltimore, 14-8.
After the game, Melvin – who had been the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks with Schilling when they won the World Series in 2001 – said, “Schilling just continues to try to get better. He threw some pitches I hadn’t seen before. He always had trouble moving his fastball but now he’s picked up a cutter. He threw a two-seamer to Edgar [Martinez] and a few to our left-handers.”9
The Red Sox and Mariners split the final two games of the four-game series. Boston won Saturday’s game, 9-0, with starter Bronson Arroyo throwing seven shutout innings. Then Seattle starter Gil Meche threw a complete game and shut out the Red Sox, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon. The two Mariners runs scored in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run homer by Raul Ibañez. The Red Sox ended their road trip in second place, 3½ games behind the Yankees.
By the end of the season, the standings hadn’t changed much. The Mariners finished last, still 29 games out of first. The Anaheim Angels, however, had displaced Oakland for the top spot in the West. The Red Sox gained a half-game on the Yankees, remaining in second place. They were, however, able to knock off the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, despite losing the first three games, and then swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.
Both Franklin and the Mariners struggled again in 2005, but Franklin became a reliever starting in 2006 and had five seasons with St. Louis, with a solid 3.52 ERA, from 2007 through 2011.
This article was fact-checked by Carl Riechers and copy-edited by Len Levin.
Photo credit: Trading Card DB.
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org. Thanks to Tim Herlich for providing access to Seattle newspaper coverage.
1 As noted by Bob Sherwin, “Quick Fizzle – Red Sox 13, M’s 2,” Seattle Times, September 11, 2004: D1.
2 David Andriesen, “Red Sox Rough Up Franklin, Mariners,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 11, 2004: D1.
3 The old record of 11 had been held by Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams in 1940, a record tied by Jim Rice and George Scott in 1977. The record remained at 12 as Ortiz and Ramírez did not homer in the same game again that year.
4 His first grand slam of 2004 had been against the White Sox on August 10 in Chicago. The 17 grand slams tied him with Foxx and Williams in fifth place at the time. Several of Ramírez’s grand slams had been hit before he had come to Boston. Williams still holds the Red Sox record with 17; Ortiz is second with 10.
5 Ichiro finished the season with 262 hits, breaking Sisler’s record on October 1, the Mariners’ 160th game. He batted .372 to lead the majors. It was his second batting title. As a rookie in 2001, he had hit .350 and led the American League.
6 It was the first time he had beaten Seattle, the win giving him at least one career victory against every one of the 30 teams in the major leagues. Bob Hohler, “Deep Impact,” Boston Globe, September 11, 2004: E1, E6.
7 Associated Press, “Schilling and Ramirez Lead Boston’s Rout,” New York Times, September 11, 2004: D5.
8 It was noted that “his 11-game skid is the second-longest in a season in Mariners history, trailing only a 16-game streak by Mike Parrott in 1980.” Andriesen. Five days later, Franklin won his next start with a two-hit shutout, beating Anaheim 1-0.