The Boston Red Sox once again find themselves out of first place after completing a mediocre stretch against the other three AL East contenders.
A visit from the Seattle Mariners could be what they need to get back on track.Boston seeks a seventh straight home victory over Seattle in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night.The Red Sox (63-44) went 5-5 against the Yankees, Baltimore and Tampa Bay over the last 11 days, falling to the now first-place Rays for the third time in that stretch Monday.Brandon Snyder's homer in the sixth inning accounted for Boston's only run in the 2-1 defeat, which was a makeup for Thursday's rainout. Manager John Farrell was ejected in the eighth inning after arguing Daniel Nava being called out at home plate. Replays showed Nava was safe."He had every right to be upset," outfielder Shane Victorino said when asked about Farrell's ejection. "The human error is part of the game and that stuff happens."The Red Sox have dropped four of their last six at home, but they've won six straight over Seattle at Fenway Park and took the final three of a four-game series from the Mariners at Safeco Field from July 8-11.Brandon Workman made his major league debut in that set, and he hopes this outing turns out better.Workman (0-1, 4.40 ERA) gave up a homer to Brendan Ryan -- the first batter he faced -- and allowed three runs in two innings of relief in Boston's 11-4 victory July 10."That's not the way I saw it going in my head," Workman told the team's official website after his debut.The right-hander will be making his third career start Tuesday after giving up two runs in six innings of a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay on July 22. He'll be opposed by Joe Saunders, who is looking to bounce back from a loss of his own.Saunders (9-9, 4.48) had won his previous four starts while posting a 1.73 ERA before allowing six runs -- five earned -- in 4 2/3 innings of Wednesday's 10-1 loss to Cleveland."Just one of those days," Saunders said.The left-hander went 0-4 with an 11.25 ERA in his first five road starts this season, but he's gone 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his last six outings outside of Seattle. His last start against Boston also went well as he allowed three runs in 7 1/3 innings of a 6-3 win Sept. 30 while pitching for Baltimore.Saunders will be looking to help the Mariners (50-55) win their fifth straight road game after they completed a 4-3 homestand with Sunday's 6-4 win over Minnesota.Shortstop Brad Miller and second baseman Nick Franklin, both rookies, had solid efforts. Miller, batting leadoff, went 2 for 3 with a walk, and Franklin, the No. 2 hitter, went 3 for 4 with a three-run homer in the fourth and a solo shot in the seventh."They spark us at the top of the order," said acting manager Robby Thompson, who has guided the team the last seven games while Eric Wedge recovers from a mild stroke. "It's not often you see a couple guys come up from Triple-A and hit 1-2 in the order in a short period of time."Seattle activated Michael Morse from his month-plus stay on the disabled list Monday while also designating veteran outfielder Jason Bay for assignment. Morse, who was battling a strained right quad, could be in the lineup Tuesday.