Red Sox eye another victory over Mariners

( - The Boston Red Sox will try to take another game from the Seattle Mariners when the two clubs resume a four-game series Friday at Safeco Field.

The Red Sox struck first in the Emerald City with Thursday's 2-1 victory, as Shane Victorino homered and Hanley Ramirez provided four hits. Brock Holt went 2-for-3 and scored on Mookie Betts' sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth.

"I feel like everything is going in the right direction," Victorino said of his season. "A lot of hard work ... staying focus and keep working hard to stay healthy."

Boston starting pitcher Joe Kelly pitched well in the no-decision and limited the hosts to a run across 6 1/3 innings. Matt Barnes recorded the win for a second straight game, tossing a scoreless eighth inning, and Koji Uehara shut Seattle down in the ninth for his eighth save.

The Red Sox have won four of their last five games and are 4-3 on a 10-game road trip.

Boston has scored exactly two runs in each of the past three games and is just 27th in baseball with a .231 batting average as a team. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval rested Thursday and should be back in the lineup against the Mariners.

Clay Buchholz hopes to get some heavy run support for the Red Sox Friday and ended his winless streak the last time out. Buchholz was 0-4 in five starts until besting Toronto up north in Sunday's 6-3 win, as he gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings to improve to 2-4 in seven starts with a 5.73 ERA.

Buchholz has made four career starts against the Mariners and is 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA. The Red Sox are 2-5 when the righty takes the mound.

The Mariners have dropped two in a row since winning four straight to start a nine-game homestand and couldn't come through for starter Roenis Elias, who delivered 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in the no-decision.

Hard-throwing closer Fernando Rodney was dealt the loss for allowing the go- ahead run in the top of the ninth.

Seattle loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but Mike Zunino struck out and Dustin Ackley grounded out to end the frame.

"It's a nasty funk that we are in," Mariners coach Lloyd McClendon said his team's poor approach with runners in scoring position.

Nelson Cruz collected three hits and scored a run when Logan Morrison grounded out in the sixth inning. Cruz is third in the majors with a .361 batting average and first with 15 home runs. He is riding a nine-game hitting streak against Boston and has one homer in his last eight games.

Thirty of Seattle's 34 games have been decided by three runs or fewer and the club is in the midst of playing 13 straight against AL East opponents.

Seattle's starting rotation is 5-2 in the last 11 games at Safeco Field, where J.A. Happ gets the call Friday. Happ is unbeaten in his last four starts (3-0) and delivered five strong innings in Seattle's 7-2 win over Oakland on Saturday, striking out eight batters with two walks.

Happ has fanned no fewer than five batters in each of his last four starts and is 3-1 with a 3.29 earned run average in six outings. The left-hander has a 3-3 record and a 4.60 ERA in nine career meetings (8 starts) with Boston.

Seattle went 5-1 against Boston last season.