SEATTLE -- Jeff Bailey went to high school in Kelso, Wash., about 150 miles south of Seattle, and he still lives there in the offseason.

And while it might be closer to Portland, Ore., than Seattle, it's still close enough for him to have had what he estimated as at least 80 people from Kelso in the stands to watch him start at first base for the Boston Red Sox and knock one out of the park at Safeco Field on Saturday night.

Bailey crushed an offering from Mariners lefty Garrett Olson into the left-field bleachers on the first pitch of the fifth inning to give the Red Sox their final run in a hard-fought 5-3 victory.

It's just the latest example of Bailey's hot start against lefty pitchers, which figures to continue Sunday when the Mariners send southpaw Jason Vargas to the hill in the rubber match of this three-game set.

"It was nice to hit the ball hard," Bailey said with a smile.

Bailey, a 30-year-old who spent parts of 12 seasons in the Minor Leagues before making his big league debut in 2007 and playing in 27 games last year, is getting a long look right now. With regular first baseman Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list and designated hitter David Ortiz struggling, Bailey is getting significant playing time, particularly against lefties.

He's delivering in those situations.

While he's only hitting .173 overall, Bailey is hitting .385 (5-for-13) against southpaws, with both of his home runs and five RBIs coming off left-handers.

He said he left 22 tickets for family and friends for Saturday's game and ended up getting "kicked off the field" afterward while greeting people.

"Hitting a homer is great," Bailey said. "And to do it in front of family and friends makes it even better."

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Justin Masterson (2-2, 4.89 ERA)
The lanky sinkerballer struggled with his command in his last start but made it work anyway, allowing just two runs over six innings. Masterson walked four and struck out three, throwing 105 pitches in a no-decision against the Angels. This will likely be his final start in the rotation before Daisuke Matsuzaka returns from the disabled list. In five starts, Masterson is 2-2 with a 4.97 ERA. Masterson has pitched twice against the Mariners in his career, going 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA.

SEA: LHP Jason Vargas (1-0, 1.04 ERA)
Vargas made a good impression in his first start for the Mariners, and his first in the Major Leagues since July 3, 2007. He held the Rangers to one run over five innings, a solo home run to Chris Davis in the fifth, and that was enough to cost him any chance of winning his debut start. Vargas, who was working on a pitch-count limit of 75 to 80, was lifted after 73 pitches, 43 of them for strikes.

Tidbits
Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 12 games with a single in the seventh inning of Saturday's game. It marks his longest hitting streak of the season and the longest active streak in the American League. Ellsbury is hitting .364 (20-for-55) with three doubles, one triple, four RBIs, six stolen bases and eight runs scored over the 12-game span, which began May 2. ... Jon Lester's two home runs yielded to Ichiro Suzuki on Friday night marked only the second time in his career that he allowed two home runs to left-handed batters in the same game and the first time to the same lefty, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other came on Aug. 21, 2007, when Carlos Pena and Akinori Iwamura both homered off Lester in an 8-6 Red Sox win at Tampa Bay. ... Jason Bay has now hit six home runs in his past 12 games, and 10 of his 11 total homers, including each of his last nine, have come with runners on base.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 4-2, 4.03) vs. Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 2-1, 4.68), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (TBD) vs. Blue Jays (Brett Cecil, 2-0, 1.80), 7:10 p.m. ET