(SportsNetwork.com) - The rubber game of a three-game series between the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners is set to take place at Safeco Field on Sunday.
Both teams are playing below .500 at the moment, although the Red Sox could even their record with a win, thanks to a 4-2 victory on Saturday. David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval both went deep for the visitors, while Blake Swihart contributed two hits and an RBI of his own.
Rick Porcello nabbed his fourth win after giving up only two runs on five hits, two of those being solo home runs, walking two and striking out six in 6 2/3 innings. Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save.
"I'm just trying to put up zeros for us and get some wins. I don't think it's anything more than that. I'm trying to do my job," Porcello said after the outing.
With the victory the Sox are now 3 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees for the top spot in the American League East, sitting behind Tampa Bay in third place.
As for the Mariners, a team which is also third in the division standings over in the AL West, but 7 1/2 games off the pace, they saw Felix Hernandez suffer his first loss of the campaign. The staff ace gave up four runs on seven hits and also walked four, while striking out five in six innings of play.
Hernandez, who appeared to favor his ankle during his performance, issued three walks in the sixth inning alone, marking just the eighth time in the hurler's career that he has allowed three free passes in a single inning.
Of the five hits produced by the Seattle bats, two came from designated hitter Brad Miller who notched a pair of solo home runs in defeat.
Making his first start of the season and just the third of his career for the Red Sox will be Steven Wright this afternoon. The right-hander is filling in for the injured Justin Masterson, who was placed on the 15-day DL earlier in the week with shoulder tendinitis, and is appearing in just his third major league game of 2015.
On Tuesday, after more than a month away from the big club, Wright battled the Oakland A's over 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out four in the no-decision. In his brief career, Wright has managed to win both of his clashes with Seattle, holding the Mariners to just five hits through a combined 8 2/3 scoreless innings.
As for the hosts, they have James Paxton preparing to counter. Like Wright, Paxton is also in his third major league campaign, although the lefty had to wait until his seventh appearance to finally land in the win column.
Paxton went up against San Diego earlier in the week, holding the Padres scoreless over six innings as he permitted three hits and walked five, countering the latter with five strikeouts. Unfortunately for the Mariners, they've won only one of the other six outings by the Kentucky product.
Boston, which has the second-worst team ERA in the American League at 4.64, has won three of the last four and five of seven as they prepare to return to Fenway Park this week to host Texas and the Los Angeles Angels.