Loretta powers Red Sox


BOSTON (AP) – Mark Loretta wanted to feel the whole celebration, even the fun-filled pounding that comes from teammates at the plate after a game-ending home run.

Loretta hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox, saved by Kevin Youkilis’ hustle, rallied past the Seattle Mariners 7-6 Monday in the annual Patriots Day game.

As he rounded the bases after his first game-ending homer, Loretta thought about taking off his batting helmet to lessen the number of players that would jump on him. He decided against it.

“Having it being my first time, I thought I wanted the total experience,” Loretta said. “(Jason) Varitek really gave it to me.”

“I’ve never experienced it before at any level – Little League, high school or college level,” he said. “Just complete euphoria. You kind of have to take a step back and think is the game really over?'”

Mariners reliever Eddie Guardado struck out the first two batters in the ninth. Youkilis then hit a grounder up the middle and second baseman Jose Lopez made a diving stop, but his throw to first was a shade late.

Youkilis raised his arms after beating the play for an infield single, and Loretta followed with his first home run for the Red Sox.

Loretta’s shot landed in the Monster Seats, where moments earlier many fans turned around to watch the women’s leader of the Boston Marathon running through Kenmore Square.

“I fell behind 2-0 and had to get a strike there,” Guardado said. “The ball was not where I wanted it, no doubt. I just blew it. I blew it. We played big today.”

David Ortiz homered twice for Boston, which improved to 5-0 in one-run games.

“You’ve got the big man hitting behind Loretta,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “That pretty much ensures he is going to get a pitch to hit, and he put a good swing on it.”

Mike Timlin (1-0) got the win and Guardado (0-1) took the loss.

Ortiz hit his fifth and sixth homers for the Red Sox, the second a two-run shot that tied it at 4 in the sixth. Trot Nixon doubled twice and singled for Boston.

It was 5-all when Adrian Beltre and Willie Bloomquist hit one-out singles in the Seattle ninth against Keith Foulke. Timlin relieved with runners at the corners and pinch-hitter Roberto Petagine hit a hard grounder to second base that Loretta stopped with a dive. Loretta’s only play was to first base as the go-ahead run scored.

“We get the lead, give it up. Get the lead back, give it up,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “It just seemed like that all day long.”

The Red Sox tied it at 5 against J. J. Putz in the eighth when Nixon doubled and Varitek hit an RBI single.

The Mariners took advantage of backup Alex Cora’s error to move ahead 5-4 against Julian Tavarez in the seventh. Bloomquist reached on the error when his grounder tipped off the shortstop’s glove.

Bloomquist moved up on a sacrifice, stole third and scored on Ichiro Suzuki’s sharp grounder that sent Loretta diving. Ortiz flied out to the right-field warning track in the eighth, with Suzuki making a semi-leap at the short wall.

Carl Everett’s two-run homer gave Seattle a 4-2 lead in the sixth.

Suzuki, 0-for-11 in the first three games of the series, lined a leadoff double in the first and scored on Raul Ibanez’s sacrifice fly. Boston tied it on Ortiz’s homer into the center-field bleachers.

Seattle moved ahead 2-1 in the second on Betancourt’s RBI double, but the Red Sox tied it on Cora’s run-scoring double.

Boston fill-in starter Lenny DiNardo, replacing David Wells, allowed two runs and six hits over five innings. Wells was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a right knee sprain.

Notes: It was Ortiz’s 21st career two-homer game, his 19th with the Red Sox. Also, the homer was his 500th hit with Boston. … RF Nixon returned to the lineup after missing the previous five games with a strained left groin. … DiNardo’s other start came last Sept. 2 against Baltimore, when he allowed four runs – one earned – in six innings. … Varitek appeared to be hobbling running down the line on his ground outs in the second and fourth, but played the entire game. … It was the Mariners’ earliest-ever game, with an 11:07 first pitch. … Red Sox SS Alex Gonzalez had the day off.