May 1, 2011: Red Sox 3, Mariners 2

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May 1, 2011: Red Sox 3, Mariners 2

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Carl Crawford hasn't had many hits for the Red Sox. But he made his only one on Sunday count.

Crawford drilled a single through a drawn-in infield, scoring Jed Lowrie from third and giving the Red Sox a 3-2 walkoff win over the Seattle Mariners.

Lowrie had reached when Ichiro Suzuki lost his liner to right in the sun for a triple.

The Sox had taken a two-run lead in the third on David Ortiz's double off The Wall, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia.

Tim Wakefield pitched brilliantly over 5 23 innings, but lost a chance to record a win when Bobby Jenks faced five hitters and walked three while allowing a single.

The Sox overcame a strong start by Felix Hernandez who allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out 10.

Player of the Game: Carl Crawford

Given his first month with the Red Sox, Crawford was a highly unlikely hero Sunday.

Hitting just .155 entering Sunday's game, Crawford delivered a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Jed Lowrie from third with two outs.

Crawford had just 15 hits all season before coming through with the game-winner off Seattle reliever Jamey Wright.

Honorable Mention: Tim Wakefield

Making his first start of 2011, Wakefield was superb through 5 23 innings, out-pitching Cy Young Award-winner Felix Hernandez.

Wakefield stepped in for an emergency start with Clay Buchholz sidelined with a stomach flu and allowed just three hits and a walk.

After 76 pitches, Wakefield was yanked after allowing a two-out single in sixth.

The Goat: Bobby Jenks

For the second time in the last three games, Jenks pitched poorly. Following a bad outing Friday in the series opener, Jenks relieved Tim Wakefield with one on, two out and the Red Sox leading 2-0.

By the time he got out of the inning, five Mariners had come to the plate and four had reached base (single, three walks), costing Wakefield a chance at the win.

The Turning Point: Lowrie's sun-aided triple

From the fourth through the eighth, the Red Sox had exactly one baserunner against Seattle pitching.

Then, two outs away from extra innings, Ichiro Suzuki couldn't see Jed Lowrie's sinking liner to right with two outs in the ninth, losing the ball in the strong late-afternoon sun as the ball nicked off his glove and went for a triple. After a groundout by Marco Scutaro, Crawford's single proved the game-winner.

By the Numbers: 2

The win was just the second one-run win of the 2011 season for the Red Sox. The only other came April 22 at Anaheim.

Quote of Note:

"I really need their support right now and I appreciate it.'' -- Carl Crawford on his teammates, who bolted from the dugout and swarmed him after his game-winner.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.

Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.

Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.

"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida.  "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.

"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."

Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.

He had options, the others didn't.

Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.

The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Righty Tyler Thornburg seems a guarantee to join David Price on the disabled list to start the season.

Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.

Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida the spasm was “not shoulder related.”  But the trap, a large muscle along the neck and back, does extend to the shoulder blade.

Dombrowski told reporters it is most likely that Thornburg starts the year on the disabled list. More is expected to be known Tuesday, possibly after an MRI.

Robby Scott could be a replacement for Thornburg. If so, the Sox would likely have three lefties in the bullpen, along with Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.

"Possibly. Possibly," Dombrowski said of Scott. “We still have to make those decisions. But possibly.”

Dombrowski didn’t indicate a desire to go outside the organization for now.

Thornburg had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.

Thornburg, 28, had a 2.15 ERA last season for the Brewers. The Sox picked him up at the winter meetings in a deal that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers.