Kirby goes 6 2/3 innings, Crawford homers in Mariners' 1-0 victory over Red Sox

SEATTLE (AP) — George Kirby allowed just two hits and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings, J.P. Crawford homered and the Seattle Mariners beat the Boston Red Sox 1-0 on Friday night.

Kirby (1-0) opened his season with another deep start after a strong 2023. Last year, he lasted at least six innings in 23 of his 31 starts.

“When he gets on a roll, it’s over. He just takes over the game, which is fun to watch,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “He’s got a chance to have a really big year.”

Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta (0-1) nearly matched Kirby. Pivetta allowed one run on three hits over six innings, striking out 10 without a walk. It was the second time in his career he’s had at least 10 strikeouts and no walks, with the other also coming at Seattle on July 31 last year.

Andrés Muñoz got the final four outs to earn the save, the second four-out save of his career.

The starters matched scoreless frames for the first five innings.

Crawford broke the tie in the sixth inning, with his shot down the right-field line just staying inside the pole.

“(Pivetta) had us off balance all night," Crawford said. "Thankfully, he just left one kind of middle of the plate and I got a barrel to it.”

Kirby ran into trouble in the opening inning, uncharacteristically walking two of the first three batters and allowing a runner to advance to third on a wild pitch.

“I was a little amped up,” Kirby said. “I kind of just focused on my breathing, settle in and try not to make the moment too big. Just go out there and throw strikes.”

He didn’t have any trouble after that, though, retiring 19 of the next 20 batters. That stretch ended on a two-out single by Ceddanne Rafaela in the seventh inning that finished Kirby’s night.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the league,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “He doesn’t walk people. He walks two in the first inning, we had a shot, we didn’t cash in, and after that he found his rhythm.”

Boston had runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings.

Gabe Speier relieved Kirby and gave up a single to the next batter, pinch-hitter Pablo Reyes, to put runners on first and second before finishing the inning with a strikeout.

In the eighth, Ryne Stanek walked the leadoff batter and gave up a two-out single to Masataka Yoshida to put runners on first and third. Muñoz came on and got out of the jam with a groundout before striking out the side in the ninth.

The Mariners loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning against Josh Winckowski. Jorge Polanco lined out to first to end the threat.

TRAINERS ROOM

Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers was scratched from the starting lineup before the game with left shoulder soreness, and was replaced by Bobby Dalbec.

Mariners DH Mitch Garver was also originally listed in the starting lineup but was scratched before the game with back spasms and is day-to-day.

UP NEXT

Red Sox RHP Kutter Crawford was set to start Saturday against Mariners RHP Logan Gilbert.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb