SEATTLE -- Fastballs that flew past Boston's flailing bats. Curves sharp enough to break the will of the Red Sox. Then, diving cut fastballs and tricky changeups.
Two months into a dreadful Mariners season, Bedard finally became the ace Seattle bargained hard for all winter by allowing two hits in seven innings, and Yuniesky Betancourt's home run was all the Mariners needed to beat Boston 1-0 on Wednesday night.
Bedard's first shutdown start of his Seattle career came after he allowed a career-high nine runs in his previous start Friday against the New York Yankees. Just another disappointment in a season that was careening with seven consecutive losses and 20 in 25 games before the Mariners took the final two of this three-game series against the defending World Series champions.
Now this, Seattle's first 1-0 victory since Aug. 9, 2005, against Minnesota.
"It was all right," Bedard (4-3) said with a shrug of the shoulders.
The ace of few words gave more insight to whomever he was text messaging at his locker for five minutes instead of answering questions from the media.
Was it the best start of his and his team's skittish season, this first Seattle two-hitter since last July 7?
"One of the best," Bedard said.
The difference between this and New York?
"Location," Bedard spat out, presumably meaning for pitches rather than geography.
Reliever Brandon Morrow, who one night before blew away Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell to preserve a tie late, stranded Julio Lugo at second by striking out Dustin Pedroia on a 98 mph fastball to end the eighth. In the ninth, walks by J.J. Putz of Ramirez and Sean Casey put the tying run at second with two outs. But Putz got Coco Crisp to ground out for his sixth save in nine chances, completing the first shutout of the season for Seattle.
"This was the game plan we talked about in spring training," Mariners manager John McLaren said.
The Red Sox lost for the 10th time in 12 games away from Fenway Park and are 1-5 on a 10-game trip that heads to Baltimore for four games. They got only two runners past first base against Bedard.
Tim Wakefield (3-4) was nearly as good as Bedard in his first start since allowing eight runs in five innings at Oakland. He had a season-high eight strikeouts while allowing five hits and walking none in his first complete game of the season. Only four Mariners even saw a three-ball count.
It was Wakefield's first 1-0 loss since Sept. 11, 2005, at Yankee Stadium. The knuckleballer struck out a career-high 12 that day.
"Unfortunately Bedard pitched great," Wakefield said. "And once they got to the bullpen -- Morrow and Putz -- it's pretty tough."
Ramirez went 1-for-4 and remained one home run short of becoming the 24th player in major league history with 500.
Boston had two on and one out in the fourth after a hard single by Ramirez, but Bedard got Lowell to hit into a double play that included a deft grab of the grounder and flip out of the glove by second baseman Jose Lopez.
"It keeps me in rhythm. Without that defense tonight, I probably wouldn't have made it out of the fifth inning," Bedard said.
Betancourt made an error ahead of Ramirez's three-run homer Monday night and then slammed a bat in the dugout when McLaren took him out for pinch-hitter Jeremy Reed in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied.
McLaren said he understood and talked to his 26-year-old shortstop Wednesday.
"If you don't like it, prove me wrong," McLaren said.
Betancourt did in the third inning. He hit the third pitch he saw from Wakefield into Boston's bullpen for his third home run of the season.
McLaren gave Betancourt an approving nod amid the celebration in the dugout.
"It's good to get the team a second win in a row -- and get a little more self-esteem," Betancourt said, through an interpreter.
- The Red Sox are going to send RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka to Boston for an MRI on his right shoulder, which the team said is "fatigued." The AL's co-leader in victories (8-0) entering Wednesday left his start Tuesday after four innings. Manager Terry Francona did not rule Matsuzaka out of his next scheduled start Monday at Baltimore.
- Boston 1B Kevin Youkilis thought he could have started, but Casey did instead for the third consecutive time while Youkilis rested a sore right hand. Francona expects Youkilis to start Friday against Baltimore.
- The Mariners were discussing putting Morrow into the rotation, but told him Wednesday that such a change won't happen this season.