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Red Sox starters surprise to earn series split with Mariners

The Boston Red Sox entered Sunday with a 1-2 record after dropping the previous two to the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park with Garrett Whitlock on the mound with a chance to split the first series of the 2024 season.

Whitlock, who struggled as a starter in 2023, threw five strong innings, giving up just one run (an RBI single by Josh Rojas in the second) and three hits with eight strikeouts.

The bullpen followed that up with four scoreless from the trio of Greg Weissert (one inning, one hit and one strikeout), Joely Rodriguez (2/3 inning with a walk) and Justin Slaten (2 1/3 innings with a strikeout).

Boston’s offense woke up again with third baseman Rafael Devers (1-for-5) back in the lineup.

Outfielder Tyler O’Neill (2-for-3 with a walk) hit a solo home run to left field in the second inning, his second of the season, and second baseman Enmanuel Valdez (1-for-4) hit a three-run shot to right in the fourth. 

The fifth and final run for the Red Sox came in the sixth when catcher Reese McGuire (2-for-4) grounded out to the pitcher, allowing designated hitter Masataka Yoshida (1-for-4) to score on the play.

The 5-1 win gives Alex Cora’s team a 2-2 record through their first four games, and if the offense didn’t slump they could’ve won more.

Coming into the season there weren’t high expectations for Boston’s rotation, but they were fantastic throughout this series. Whitlock, Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta and Kutter Crawford combined to throw 22 innings, giving up 14 hits, four earned runs and a walk with 27 strikeouts.

If they can continue that trend, the Red Sox should be better than many believed they would be. 

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