SEATTLE -- Results of baseball games are largely a matter of perspective.
Ask the Boston side about Friday's 5-0 win over Seattle, and the Red Sox will tell you it's all about the good pitching they got from Aaron Cook.
Ask the Seattle side and the Mariners will tell you it's all about bad hitting.
Cook, a former All-Star with the Rockies making just his third start for the Red Sox this season, needed just 81 pitches to decimate the Seattle offense. He allowed two hits, and the Boston defense put another man on base via an error.
Two double plays meant that Cook faced just one batter over the minimum in throwing his first shutout since 2009.
"You know (the Mariners) are going to be aggressive, but I got into a really good rhythm early," Cook said. "I depend a lot on my defense, and they played great tonight.
"It's good to be feeling healthy and making my pitches again."
That's one way to look at it. Then you have the Mariners' perspective, as put forward by Seattle manager Eric Wedge. His team has had 25 hits in the first five games of this 10-game homestand and is hitting just .197 at Safeco Field.
"We were horrible tonight; we stunk up the joint," Wedge said. "That was just brutal. I take nothing away from (Cook), but an 80-pitch complete game? We can't be making it that easy for him."
It wasn't as if the Red Sox were hitting at will. Boston had just nine hits, but four of them left the park -- three of those in the fifth inning alone against Hector Noesi -- and that was all that Cook needed.
"It's getting pretty old for us to be complementing the other guy," Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan said. "It's getting very old."
For the Red Sox, on the other hand, they got seven shutout innings Thursday from lefty Franklin Morales and Cook's nine shutout innings Friday. On Saturday they welcome back Josh Beckett from the disabled list, and on the next homestand they should be able to turn to another disabled starter, Chad Buchholz.
Things are looking up for manager Bobby Valentine.
"You can never have enough good pitching," Valentine said. "We're building competition here. We're building a good staff.
"We'd like to think we can give the ball to one of many guys and think we have the chance to win. Our pitchers have really gained a lot of confidence."
Boston has won 10 of its last 13 games and, after a 4-10 start to the season that had them mired in last place, the Red Sox have clawed their way back to third place by going 37-26. Since mid-May they've won 29 of their last 46.
Much of that can be laid at the feet of the offense, which has produced 57 more runs scored than runs allowed, the third-best run differential in the AL behind the Yankees and Rangers.
There was a suggestion that things might be slowing down when Seattle's pitching shut out Boston for the first 13 innings of the series. But four homers in the fifth and sixth innings put that thought to rest.
"That first one by (Will) Middlebrooks was a big one for us, got us going," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hit a two-run shot, his 15th, in the sixth. "This park (Safeco Field) can get you down a little, but we turned it on."
Cody Ross and Daniel Nava hit the other home runs, but the big story for the Red Sox is that their pitching is coming on strong. If Beckett, who has missed 15 days because of shoulder discomfort, can pitch back to form, there will be some hard choices for Valentine and his pitching coach, Bob McClure, to make. The Red Sox have allowed either one or zero runs in three of their last four games.
For the moment, the Red Sox are going with a six-man rotation, a situation that could last until the All-Star Game.
And Cook will have a chance to state his case again in future starts.
"I'm getting good action on my pitches now that I'm healthy again," Cook said. "It's all good."
For one side, anyway.
NOTES: The Mariners made a roster move before the game, putting center fielder Franklin Gutierrez on the seven-day disabled list with a mild concussion after being hit in the right ear by a pickoff throw from Boston's Franklin Morales Thursday. Taking the open roster spot was right-handed reliever Steve Delabar, who is being called up for the third time this season. ... The Red Sox will have to make a roster move before Saturday's game. Veteran right-hander Josh Beckett is scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled list (shoulder discomfort) and make his first start since June 11. ... The Mariners have pushed veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood's next start back until next weekend because of ongoing groin troubles. In his place, Hisashi Iwakuma will make his first big league start Monday against Baltimore. ... The Red Sox's David Ortiz is sitting on 399 career homers. His next homer will put him into 49th place on baseball's all-time home run list.
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