Schwarber, Sox forge 3-way Wild Card tie

8:43 AM UTC

SEATTLE — One day removed from a costly error in a Red Sox loss, Kyle Schwarber knocked a bases-clearing pinch-hit double to right-center field in the top of the eighth inning to propel the Red Sox past Seattle for an 8-4 win Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park.

The win put Boston in a virtual tie with the Yankees and Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card standings. The Red Sox are 82-65; New York and Toronto are both 81-64. Boston gained a game on Seattle (78-67) and Oakland (77-67).

Xander Bogaerts started things in the decisive eighth inning with a triple, his first since 2018. The Red Sox went on to load the bases after walks by Rafael Devers and Travis Shaw sandwiched a groundout from J.D. Martinez. Then, up stepped Schwarber.

“The biggest thing I was thinking about was putting the ball in play,” said Schwarber, who was hitting for catcher Kevin Plawecki. “Bases loaded, tie ballgame — put pressure on the defense, that’s kind of the biggest thing there.”

Schwarber shook off an 0-for-16 streak over his past five games and came through.

“The 0-for-whatever, obviously they’re tough times there,” said Schwarber, “but you just got to be able to trust your process in the cage. Trust your process on the field and batting practice and things like that for when you get into a spot like that. 

“Those are spots you want to be in as a baseball player — and want to be able to come through for your team.”

Alex Verdugo added a two-run homer in the inning, bringing Schwarber home to cap an eight-run rally.

Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, named a Roberto Clemente Award nominee earlier in the day, pitched five innings for Boston. He finished with nine strikeouts while surrendering five hits, two runs (one earned), and one intentional walk.

Eovaldi gave up both runs in the fourth inning. He was in danger of allowing even more in the frame as Seattle had the bases loaded with no outs after a fielding error by right fielder Hunter Renfroe. Eovaldi held strong and retired the next three batters — one on a sacrifice fly — to close the inning.

“That was amazing,” manager Alex Cora said. “Obviously, we didn’t help him out. But he did a good job. We were trying to limit the damage, and that’s what we were able to do.”

The Red Sox have won six of the past seven games the right-hander has started, yet he has been credited with only one win over that stretch.

“We’re 6-1 as a team, and that’s all that matters to me,” said Eovaldi, who is 10-8 overall with 3.52 ERA over 29 starts. “The wins come and go. They’re not as valued as they once were. It’s tougher to lock it down for an entire game.”

Boston had some trouble closing out the Mariners as it surrendered two unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth. But left-hander Austin Davis struck out Kyle Seager to shut down any comeback hopes.

Martinez and Bobby Dalbec homered in the fourth and sixth innings; both players followed up homer-distance foul balls with clear-as-day dingers. 

Martinez’s 26th homer of the year had an exit velocity of 111.2 mph, his second-hardest of the year, behind the 112.3 mph knock off the Royals’ Brad Keller on June 19.

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