SEATTLE – The streak of series domination by Boston that stretched more than a month was bound to end at some point.
The fact it ended in Seattle is the surprising part.
Charlie Furbush allowed just one run in a career-best seven innings, Casper Wells homered and scored two runs and the Seattle Mariners beat Boston 5-3 on Sunday afternoon, taking two of three from the AL East-leading Red Sox.
Furbush (3-4) held the Red Sox bats in check, giving up four hits in just his fifth start of the season. He struck out a career-high six and didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning.
"Everything kind of was working, depending on the hitter," Furbush said. "I've faced these guys before, so there were a few things I wanted to stick to in certain situations, certain counts, certain hitters."
Boston had not lost a series since the end of June, a stretch of 11 straight sets either winning or splitting. It spanned a total of 36 games between July 1 in Houston and last Wednesday in Minnesota where the Red Sox went 26-10.
And if not for John Lackey working through some early struggles on Friday night and giving Boston time to rally for a 6-4 win, the Red Sox could have been swept.
"Some hits mixed in, they get a couple tack on runs and that's the formula we talk about all the time," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "You score a few or three and tack on and that's what they did and it was enough to beat us."
For Wakefield, he missed on a fourth chance at career victory No. 200. He picked up No. 199 on July 24 at home against Seattle, but has now lost his last two decisions.
Wakefield (6-5) was credited with a complete-game pitching eight innings, giving up nine hits, four earned runs and striking out four. In the previous win over Seattle, he was knocked around for 10 hits and seven runs.
"I don't care about it. The first couple, yeah, but I'm just trying to pitch quality starts and quality innings to get us wins," Wakefield said. "It is getting to that time of year where it is time to win games."
Seattle managed to piece together a trio of runs in the third inning, but not without a little bit of controversy. With runners on first and second and no outs, Ichiro Suzuki grounded to first base. Adrian Gonzalez threw down to second and it appeared Jed Lowrie slipped his toe on the bag to force Kyle Seager, who had reached on a single.
But second base umpire Ed Hickox said Lowrie had missed the bag and Seager was safe, despite Francona coming out to argue. Seager later scored on Mike Carp's RBI single to give Seattle a 3-0 lead.
"I was trying to cover first and I look up and they called him safe at second. So I've got bases loaded and no outs instead of one," Wakefield said. "You just try and limit the damage as much as possible. I wasn't able to do that."
The three early runs were plenty for Furbush. He struck out five of the first 10 batters he faced and didn't give up a hit until Gonzalez's one-out single in the fourth inning. He was also efficient, getting through seven innings throwing just 95 pitches.
And he benefited from some defensive help as well. Dustin Pedroia was robbed of a base-hit leading off the fourth when Jack Wilson went horizontal to make a diving snag at shortstop. The out became even more important when the Red Sox got two more hits in the inning and a sacrifice fly from Lowrie to cut Seattle's lead to 3-1.
Suzuki also made a fine running catch in right-center field to rob Kevin Youkilis of extra bases with a runner on in the sixth.
"It's one of those things where you just react," said Wilson, who also had a run scoring infield single. "Those plays end up becoming huge."
Youkilis hit a two-out, two-run homer off Seattle reliever Jeff Gray in the eighth inning to cut the lead to 5-3. Youkilis' 17th homer came after he had missed the first two games in the series with a stiff back. Gray got a groundout from David Ortiz to end the eighth and Brandon League pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances.
"I'm still tight, but hopefully with the off day tomorrow it will loosen up," Youkilis said.
Notes: The Red Sox last series loss came June 28-30 when they dropped two of three at Philadelphia. They had won or split 11 straight series. ... Francona said that Jon Lester will start Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader at home against Tampa Bay. Erik Bedard will start the second game. ... Seattle won a series against an American League team other than Oakland for the first time since taking three of four from Tampa Bay in early June. ... Pineda will make his 23rd start on Monday night for Seattle against Toronto. Pineda has just one victory since July 4, but threw six strong innings in a no decision in his last start at Texas.