Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 2, Marlins 1
June, 12, 2012
By Matt Porter | ESPNBoston.com
MIAMI -- The Boston Red Sox snapped a four-game losing streak by hanging two seventh-inning runs on Marlins starter Mark Buehrle and holding on for a 2-1 win.
The Red Sox, who had lost seven of eight, received another outstanding start from Clay Buchholz. The right-hander went seven innings, allowing five hits and a solo homer. He struck out six of his first 13 batters and finished with a season-high nine strikeouts.
Buchholz, who was the winning pitcher in the Sox only other victory since June 3, allowed a leadoff triple to Jose Reyes, a trio of singles in the third, and Logan Morrison’s seventh-inning homer. Other than that, no Marlins batter reached second.
Vicente Padilla got out of an eighth-inning jam by striking out slugger Giancarlo Stanton on mid-90s fastballs. Alfredo Aceves picked up his 15th save.
Buchholz, who had allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last three starts and four of his last five, is now 7-2 in 11 starts after a Red Sox loss. He’s also 7-2 on the year with a 5.38 ERA. On May 6, his ERA was 9.09.
JUST ENOUGH OFFENSE: The Red Sox faced another good starting pitcher, and this time did just enough to win.
Buehrle, long known as one of the majors’ fastest workers, made quick work of Boston for most of the night. He allowed just a Kelly Shoppach double through 6 1/3 innings. He and Buchholz got through five innings in an hour and 24 minutes.
In the seventh, rookie Will Middlebrooks singled, and Shoppach, who was 2-for-4, broke the scoreless tie with a two-out RBI double. Mike Aviles followed with an RBI single to center to make it 2-0.
Darnell McDonald then singled and Aviles raced to third, with McDonald taking second on the throw. The Marlins were saved by Chris Coghlan, who made a diving catch of a Buchholz liner to kill the two-out rally.
For as bad as its offense has been, Boston entered the game third in the majors in average (.268) and fifth in OPS (.772). But three runs a game -- which is what the Sox have posted in their last nine games -- isn’t going to cut it.
BIG SPOT: Padilla came up huge in the eighth, keeping the Marlins off the scoreboard with runners on first and third. With two outs and a 2-1 lead, Padilla went after Stanton with heat. The slugger swung through a 1-0 fastball at 95 m.p.h., fouled off a 96-m.p.h. heater, and looked at another 95-m.p.h. fastball to end the inning. Stanton wore the golden sombrero (0-for-4, 4 Ks).
YOUK PLUNKED: Kevin Youkilis was hit in the ribs by a Steve Cishek fastball in the eighth inning. Adrian Gonzalez replaced him at first, with Ryan Sweeney taking over Gonzalez’ spot in right field. Before that, Youkilis was 0-for-3 with three groundouts.
PAPI’S CHANCE: David Ortiz couldn’t add to the lead in the top of the ninth with two outs and runners on first and second. As a pinch-hitter, he struck out against Marlins lefty reliever Randy Choate, who has allowed one earned run in 18 2/3 innings.
GONZO WATCH: Gonzalez had another forgettable game. He started in right and was 0-for-3, dropping his average to .260. Of note, he walked for the second game in a row after a career-worst stretch of 24 games without a free pass. Before Monday, he hadn’t walked since May 15. Perhaps he’s seeing the ball better.
DOUBLE TRIPLE: Speaking of big-money players, Reyes was dynamic all night. He led off the bottom of the first just as he did Monday’s game, by lashing a hard-hit ball to the outfield and sliding into third with a triple. He has five on the year, tied for third in the majors, and is the first player since 2008 to lead off two games in a row with a triple (he was the last to do it). Reyes was smoking the ball, going 2-for-4 with a triple, a single and two loud outs. The Marlins are getting some value on his six-year, $106 million deal.
WEB GEMS: The Marlins had two in the first. Stanton made a sliding catch in right of a sinking Scott Podsednik liner and third baseman Hanley Ramirez dove to his left, snared a grounder and threw out Youkilis from one knee.