for this game

Francona gets 1,000th win; Sox down Mariners

Jul 24, 2011 - 5:05 AM Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Jacoby Ellsbury's two-run single in the seventh inning Saturday night didn't just score the go-ahead runs for the Red Sox.

It delivered Terry Francona his 1,000th career win, saved one Fenway fan from a potentially fateful faux pas and helped send the Mariners to a franchise record-tying 14th straight loss.

Ellsbury slapped a base hit up the middle to key a three-run rally and the Red Sox held on to beat the Mariners, 3-1, to take the first two games of their weekend series.

Three runs seemed like a windfall for Josh Beckett, who was pitching for the first time since one-hitting the Rays in eight innings last Sunday, a game the Red Sox won 1-0 in 16 innings.

Beckett (9-3) gave up seven hits, including a solo homer, and struck out seven batters in seven strong innings to improve to 6-0 against the Mariners since joining Boston.

Ellsbury's single came one batter after a fan sitting deep down the first base side reached over the wall and grabbed Marco Scutaro's hit near the right field corner.

It was ruled a ground-rule double, putting runners at second and third. But the ball, if left alone, had a chance to carom away from Ichiro Suzuki and potentially score Jason Varitek from first base for the game-tying run.

The fan -- a middle-aged man wearing a dark shirt -- was let off the hook when Ellsbury knocked a 1-2 fastball from Seattle rookie Blake Beavan (1-2) through the middle on the second base side to make it 2-1.

Ellsbury later scored on a wild pitch, giving the Red Sox their 3-1 lead.

"I tried to throw a four-seamer away and it probably caught a little more of the plate than I wanted it to," said Beavan about Ellsbury's hit. "He made a good swing on it and hit it back up the middle. There was nothing more I could have done and he did a good job."

Daniel Bard escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, running his MLB-best scoreless innings streak to 24 innings, and Jonathan Papelbon settled down after Miguel Olivo's pinch-hit single leading off the ninth to earn his 23rd save.

Francona ran his overall record to 1,000-880 and improved to 715-517 since becoming the Red Sox's manager in 2004. He was 285-363 in four seasons with the Phillies before that.

"I don't think it's that big a deal," said Francona, who was the 57th manager in MLB history -- and eighth active skipper -- to reach the plateau. "I'd like to keep the spotlight on the players."

The Mariners have lost 14 straight games only one other time, setting the team record from September 2-18, 1992. They'll send star rookie Michael Pineda to the mound for Sunday's series finale, hoping he plays stopper against Tim Wakefield.

Their current nine-game road trip won't get any easier with an upcoming three- game series at Yankee Stadium.

Meanwhile, Ellsbury continued to come through for the Red Sox in big spots. He was 2-for-4 Saturday and has at least two hits in 11 of his past 18 games dating back to last month.

"He's been good in all situations," said Francona, "but he's really pretty special right now. It's exciting to watch."

Also for the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia doubled in the first inning to push his career-high hitting streak to 20 games. He had two hits and has reached base in a career-best 32 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Mike Carp led off the seventh inning with a solo homer to make it 1-0 Seattle.

Carp worked a full count against Beckett, then popped a 91 mph fastball over the wall in center for his second homer of the season, and third of his career.

Kevin Youkilis saved a run later in the seventh, diving to his left to snag Brendan Ryan's bouncer and beating him by a step at first base with a throw that carried him back to the ground.

The Red Sox improved to 16-3 in their last 19 games, but for a while Saturday it looked like they would be cursed by near-rallies.

David Ortiz doubled to lead off the second and went to third on Carl Crawford's single. But when Ortiz tried to score on Varitek's shallow fly ball to center field, he was gunned down at home plate by Franklin Gutierrez.

The throw was strong, if a little offline to the third base side, but catcher Josh Bard was able to swipe Ortiz as he tried to slide underneath the tag.

"The guy made a great throw," said Francona. "It was bang-bang at the plate."

Ellsbury singled in the third inning and was stranded at third base when Adrian Gonzalez popped out in foul territory to the left fielder Carp, who jumped to make the catch near the wall.

Seattle left a runner at third base in the fourth and squandered a first-and- second situation with no outs in the sixth after Ichiro and Ryan led off with singles.

Gonzalez bounced a ground-rule double over the right field wall in the sixth, but was out on a fielder's choice at third.

Game Notes

The Red Sox moved three games ahead of the Yankees, who lost 4-3 to Oakland earlier on Sunday. They have the best record in the majors in July (15-3)...Beckett is unbeaten in his last four starts (3-0) and is 5-1 in his last seven...Beavan made his debut earlier this month.