Playing left field in Fenway Park isn’t easy.
It would seem Red Sox left fielder Franchy Cordero is still getting acclimated to the position in his first season in a Boston uniform.
Cordero misplayed a line drive in the sixth inning Thursday that broke up Nick Pivetta’s no-hit bid and also failed to snare another liner in the 10th to allow the go-ahead run to score as the Red Sox took a 7-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners despite giving up only three hits.
The four-game series continues Friday night in Boston.
“He was playing where he was supposed to,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said in defense of Cordero. “From the dugout, you can’t tell. I’ll take a look at it, but he gave the effort.
“I think it’s not about the routes or the way he was playing, I think for how good we pitched today, we didn’t pitch well. We walked too many guys, there was a lot of traffic at the end and we weren’t able to put them away.”
Pivetta was cruising with a 2-0 lead and a no-hitter until he walked J.P. Crawford and Mitch Haniger with two outs in the sixth. Up came Ty France, who hit a liner to left-center field.
Cordero was positioned just 252 feet from home plate, according to StatCast, or 25 feet shallower than Red Sox left fielders lined up against right-handed hitters in each of the previous two seasons. Cordero seemed to take an awkward route to the ball and despite a leaping attempt, it sailed over his head, breaking up the no-hitter, the shutout and tying the score at 2-2.
The Mariners didn’t get another hit until the 10th. With one out and a runner at third, Sam Haggerty hit a liner down the left field line that also went over a leaping Cordero, giving Seattle a 4-3 lead. Crawford walked with two outs and Haniger hit a three-run shot into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center field.
Haniger, who missed most of the past two seasons with injuries, is batting .316 with five homers and 17 RBIs out of the leadoff spot for the Mariners, who are tied with Oakland for the best record in the American League.
“To have him on base, it’s just, he works great at-bats,” France said of Haniger. “So, before I get into the box, I’ve seen pretty much everything the pitcher has thrown, which helps me out a lot.
“But yeah, just putting that pressure on the pitcher with someone on base, especially with a guy like Mitch, who can run, it’s nice for me, and guys don’t want to pitch to Mitch. So hopefully they’ll pitch to me. We’re feeding off each other well right now.”
Seattle left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 4.74 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday against Boston lefty Martin Perez (0-1, 5.93).
Kikuchi pitched a season-high seven innings on April 16 against the Houston Astros but gave up five runs on six hits in a 6-5 Mariners win. He has faced the Red Sox just once, in the second start of his major league career in 2019, when he allowed three runs (two earned) over six innings but didn’t get a decision.
Perez has faced the Mariners more than any other opponent in his 10-year career (121 innings), going 8-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 23 appearances, including 21 starts. He is coming off a loss against the Chicago White Sox, who tagged him for four runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings on Sunday.
–Field Level Media