MIAMI -- In the spring, Felix Doubront was just another guy vying for a spot in the Boston Red Sox's rotation. After Wednesday's scintillating start against the Miami Marlins, consider him a member of merit.
In a 10-2 win, Doubront had a no-hitter going through 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three hits and struck out a season-high nine batters. He walked one and threw 99 pitches in seven innings, also a season-best.
Doubront, who beat out Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and others for the fifth starter's job, has been pitching like a front-line starter. He's 7-3 and lowered his ERA to 4.17. He's allowed three earned runs or less in nine of his 13 starts this year.
Wednesday, he showed he can rebound after being shelled in his previous start.
Doubront said he watched plenty of video from his June 8 outing against the Washington Nationals, when he allowed a career-high six runs over a season-low four innings. He gave up eight hits, two walks and a career-high five doubles.
"I was thinking I had to get my confidence back," he said.
On Wednesday, he walked a batter in the first inning, but set down 16 in a row until Jose Reyes' solo homer that led off the sixth. Doubront followed with three strikeouts.
"Outstanding," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He had all of his arsenal tonight. An explosive fastball. His curve was thrown for strikes early and late. Had a good changeup and a cutter. Boy, that's good pitching."
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said, "His curveball tonight was the best I've seen it."
Doubront was more aggressive than last time, preferring to challenge the Marlins with fastballs. "The only time he shook [me] off was to go fastball-in," Saltalamacchia said. "That's something we didn't do last game. We'd always go sinkers away or four-seamers away. It showed me he wanted to pound the zone and get these guys swinging the bat. It was great."
Doubront also laid down a quality sacrifice bunt in the third, helping manufacture Boston's first run.
His only trouble came in the seventh, when he allowed a sharp single to Hanley Ramirez and a double to Giancarlo Stanton. For the first time all night, the Marlins had caught up to his fastball. His manager visited.
"You have to collect yourself and believe in your stuff," Valentine said. "I think he does, and I think he did."
Doubront allowed a run on a grounder to short, but departed without further damage.
"I think he's a real confident guy, but that proves he's confident. It also proves he's good," Valentine said.
After clearing last week's speed bump, Doubront is cruising. It now seems like a question of just how good he can be.
"The guy's got great stuff," Saltalamacchia said. "He's up there with the best."
"He's gonna get even better," David Ortiz said. "Just watch."