The Seattle Mariners hit the half way point in their 162 game season today, and they do it with the opportunity to do what they have never done before.
Sweep a three-game series in Boston.
The Red Sox are the only American League team the Mariners have never swept on the road, and they've won the first two games of this series.
It's Brandon Morrow vs. Jon Lester, and manager Don Wakamatsu has his right-handed hitting lineup, which means Mike Sweeney is the designated hitter.
Asked about reaching the midway point of the season before the game, Wakamatsu said "I couldn't be happier with this team.
"Our guys have developed relationships with one another, with the staff and with me," Wakamatsu said. "That shows up on the field with the character of this team. They care about one another. It's a special team."
Sox power up
Morrow struck out leadoff hitter J.D. Drew, then threw a high fastball to Dustin Pedroia, who hit it over the green monster in left field.
A solo home run doesn't usually beat you, but this one put Boston ahead and showed Morrow's vulnerabiliy.
Two batters later, David Ortiz crushed one over the Seattle bullpen in right field.
High fastballs - even at 96 mph - may not be the way to pitch the Red Sox.
After one: Red Sox 2, Mariners 0
Junior gets 'em started
Sweeney's out of the game - back spasms again - and Ken Griffey Jr. pinch hit for him.
Junior singled high off the monster, Franklin Gutierrez singled and with one out the Mainers got a break - Pedroia dropped a throw from Kevin Youkillis that loaded the bases.
Woodward struck out. Cedeno tripled down the right field line, bouncing the ball past Drew, for three runs.
In the fourth: Mariners 3, Red Sox 2
Here they come again
As rallies go, this won't rank up there with long home runs, but it'll do.
With one out, Lopez and Griffey walked, and Gutierrez beat a ball off the plate for an infield single that loaded the bases. Ryan Langerhans' sacrifice fly got Lopez home.
Hey, they all count the same.
In the fifth: Mariners 4, Red Sox 2
With one out, Morrow got himself in trouble, walking Drew before Pedroia doubled.
With those runners at second and third, Morrow got a shallow fly ball from Kevin Youkillis - then struck out Ortiz on a 97 mph fastball to get out of the inning.
Impressive. If Morrow can give them one more inning, the Mariners will kiss him on the cheek and go to the bullpen happy.
After five: Mariners 4, Red Sox 2
You think it's easy?
Morrow struck out Jason Bay, but on his 88th pitch of the day Jacoby Ellsbury homered to right field.
The Red Sox have six hits against Morrow - half of them home runs.
With his 98th and last pitch of the day, Morrow struck out Jason Varitek with a 98 mph fastball.
Miguel Batista is warming up.
After six: Mariners 4, Red Sox 3
That didn't work
Batista and catcher Kenji Johjima aren't a good working pair.
With one out, Batista walked Drew and Pedroia singled. Youkillis flied out for the second out to bring up Ortiz.
Johjima called four consecutive fastballs, and though Batista was throwing 95 mph, three of those pitches missed the strike zone. On the fourth, Ortiz singled home the tying run.
Bad game management theby pitcher and the catcher.
Mark Lowe replaced Batista and walked Jason Bay on four pitches to load the bases, then walked Ellsbury to push home the go-ahead run.On a 3-2 count, Mark Kotsay singled hom two runs and Morrow was replaced on the mound by Sean White - the third reliever of the inning to pitch after there were two out.
White's two-strike pitch got past Johjima - a passed ball - and scored another run. Varitek struck out.
After seven: Red Sox 8, Mariners 4
And in the end
Mariners went quietly after that wretched seventh inning, and finished their trip 5-4 - a strong nine-game stretch.
Still, this one galls. This won was there to be won, and a bullpen that's been a strength all year gave it up.
So it goes.
Final score: Red Sox 8, Mariners 4