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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, August 24 (All times Eastern)

Seattle Mariners (70-58) at Boston Red Sox (56-73), 1:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.57) Boston - Allen Webster (3-1, 4.73)

(SportsNetwork.com) - With a 10-game road trip against American League East foes on the horizon, the Boston Red Sox have picked the worst time to hit the skids.

Losers of seven straight and eight of the last nine, Boston will try to refocus Sunday afternoon as it hosts the Seattle Mariners in the finale of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

With the postseason now a distant dream, the defending World Series Champions need to get back on track for no other reason than to save some self respect as they sit all alone at the bottom of the division standings, 18 games out of contention following Saturday's 7-3 setback.

The Mariners, now 12 games over .500 and six games out of first in the AL West, scored all seven of their runs in the fourth inning as Dustin Ackley notched his ninth home run of the season and plated three for the visitors as they won for the third time in the last four outings.

Jesus Sucre and Kyle Seager both delivered a pair of hits for Seattle to help give starting pitcher Chris Young some support, although the hurler made it through just 3 2/3 innings and wasn't around to benefit from the offensive burst by his teammates. Young allowed three runs of his own on seven hits and walked five, while striking out two before exiting.

Tom Wilhelmsen ended up grabbing the victory, his second of the season, pitching 1 1/3 innings, surrendering a walk and fanning three.

"Everyone is feeling real good, we're strong, we're healthy, eager to pick each other up and win ballgames," said Wilhelmsen. "These are really important games, especially right now at this time of the season. And to do it on the road at the end of a long trip says a lot about our team."

Boston starter Brandon Workman was saddled with his eighth loss in nine decisions, permitting the seven runs on 10 hits and a walk, while striking out just three over 3 1/3 innings of action.

Dustin Pedroia accounted for three of his team's nine hits, although three other players (Brock Holt, Mike Napoli and David Ross) offset that effort by each striking out three times.

Not only did the Red Sox lose another game, they also lost slugger David Ortiz who was hit on the left elbow with a fastball in the sixth inning. Ortiz stayed in the game to run the bases, but he later left with an elbow contusion.

"A little swollen," Ortiz said afterwards. "But I'll be alright."

Gunning for his fourth straight win and the fifth in the last six decisions is Seattle hurler Hisashi Iwakuma. The right-hander from Japan went eight shutout innings in his most recent outing on Tuesday, permitting just four hits and fanning 11.

Iwakuma, who is 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA in three career games versus Boston, has now allowed just two earned runs in his last four contests this season.

As a group, the Mariners are currently first in the AL in team ERA with a mark of 2.93, the only club under three entering play on Sunday.

As for the Red Sox, they plan on utilizing Allen Webster on the mound this afternoon. A right-hander from North Carolina, Webster is appearing in just his sixth game of the season today, having won three of his previous four decisions, including two straight.

However, on Tuesday Webster was pitted against the Angels and ended up on the wrong side of a 4-3 decision, although he was not saddled with the loss. The second-year man gave up three runs on six hits and a couple of walks, while striking out three in six innings of action.

In his only previous appearance against Seattle last season, Webster gave up seven runs on six hits and two walks in a mere 2 1/3 innings.

08/24 10:26:41 ET

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