SEATTLE — By the time the second inning was finished at Safeco Field Tuesday night, the Red Sox were reeling.
They trailed the Seattle Mariners by four runs and had shaky rookie Allen Webster on the mound. Injuries had left their lineup with three other rookies at the bottom of the order.
The Sox had lost three consecutive games and were heading for a fourth. That hadn’t happened since He Whose Name Is Never Mentioned was the manager last season.
But this Red Sox team, as it has all season, kept coming back. A relentless offense and stellar relief pitching led to an 11-8 victory before a crowd of 21,072.
“It was a very good team win all the way around,” manager John Farrell said.
The Sox had 16 hits, five of them home runs. David Ortiz was 4 for 5 with a home run, three runs scored, and his third stolen base. He now has 1,688 hits, matching Harold Baines for the most by a designated hitter.
“You have to play for a while to put numbers together,” said Ortiz, who now holds just about every career record for a DH. “I don’t really think about it right now. I’m just trying to continue producing for this ballclub.”
Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs, two with a home run in the third inning that started the comeback. Those three rookies at the bottom of the order — Jose Iglesias, Brock Holt, and Jackie Bradley Jr. — had four hits and four RBIs.
“There was a lot of back and forth. It was a fun game,” Holt said. “We had lost three in a row but we kept battling.”
The best work was done by the overworked and undermanned bullpen as five relievers combined to allow one run over 6 2/3 innings. Craig Breslow (3-2) got the win and Koji Uehara his sixth save.
Breslow and Andrew Bailey combined for four scoreless innings, giving the Sox a chance to come back.
“Those four innings in the middle of the game were the key to stabilizing it for us,” Farrell said.
Breslow’s 2 1/3 innings were a season high. Bailey replaced him with a runner on second in the sixth inning and got two quick outs before taking care of Seattle in the seventh. Bailey has thrown 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his last three outings.
The starting pitchers — Webster and All-Star righthander Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners — were not around for very long.
Webster may be headed back to Triple A Pawtucket after giving up seven runs on six hits over 2 1/3 innings. Kendrys Morales had two home runs off Webster, a two-run shot in the first inning and a solo blast to center in the third.
In the second inning, Webster loaded the bases when he walked Dustin Ackley, a .202 hitter. Brad Miller followed with a three-run double down the line in right field.
Webster has a 9.57 earned run average in six starts and has given up seven home runs over 26 1/3 innings.
“They jumped on my fastball early. I’m glad the team stepped up and helped me out a lot,” Webster said.
Farrell was so eager to get Webster out of the game in the third inning that he accidentally tried to circumvent a major league rule.
Pitching coach Juan Nieves visited the mound in the third inning after Webster allowed two hits. After Webster missed with a curveball to Justin Smoak, he was told to throw to first base several times to give reliever Alfredo Aceves time to warm up.
Farrell then came out of the dugout. But he was ordered back by umpire Jim Joyce because Webster had not completed a batter after the first trip to the mound.
Webster’s next pitch was lined to right field but Shane Victorino ran it down. Michael Saunders greeted Aceves with an RBI triple. Going back to Monday, Seattle had scored in eight consecutive innings. That was a franchise record.
Aceves lasted only three batters. He did not come out for the fourth inning because soreness on his left side.
Iwakuma had the shortest start of his two-year career in the majors. He allowed six runs on eight hits, three of them home runs.
Ortiz had a solo homer to right field to start the second inning. The Sox then scored five runs in the third inning to take a 6-5 lead.
Victorino singled to center before Pedroia lined a fastball out to left field for his sixth home run. Ortiz followed with a double before Mike Napoli hit his second home run of the road trip.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled, giving the Red Sox five hits in a row. Saltalamacchia took third when Iwakuma threw a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Holt.
After the Mariners tied it back up, the Sox took an 8-7 lead in the fifth inning when Bradley Jr. homered to center field off Blake Beavan, who was pitching for the first time in nine days.
Bradley had been called up from Pawtucket earlier in the day. He has two home runs in the majors and seven in Triple A. Bradley hit nine home runs all last season in 128 minor league games.
“I’m tired. I’m going to crash out early tonight and get some rest,” Bradley said. “It feels good to help out.”
The Red Sox lead grew to 9-7 in the eighth inning when Victorino homered to left field off Charlie Furbush. Ortiz later singled and stole second when Furbush failed to hold him on.
The steal opened up the inning. Saltalamacchia was intentionally walked with two outs before Iglesias and Holt had RBI singles.
“I play to win. Any chance that you’ve got, you’ve got to take advantage of it,” Ortiz said.