Monday, June 11, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Marlins 4, Red Sox 1
By Matt Porter
MIAMI -- The Boston Red Sox continued their offensive woes, falling 4-1 to the Miami Marlins in the first of a three-game interleague set at Marlins Park.
Boston has lost seven of eight and helped Miami break a six-game losing streak.
The Red Sox couldn’t help Josh Beckett, who went seven innings and retired 15 of 16 batters after a rough first trip through the lineup.
Beckett allowed one hit in his final five innings, but Boston’s only run came on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez.
An error by Gonzalez in right field let one of Miami’s three first-inning runs score.
The Red Sox are now 29-32 (last in the AL East) and three games under .500. The last time Boston was at least three games below .500 this late into the season was 1997. That year, they finished 78-84.
OFFENSE COMES UP EMPTY: The Red Sox produced just five hits and made life easy for Marlins starter Josh Johnson (4-4).
The big right-hander escaped after throwing 27 pitches in the first. Scott Podsednik singled and stole second on a 2-2 pitch before Johnson issued a walk to Dustin Pedroia. But Gonzalez whiffed, and both David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia flied out.
In the second, Ryan Sweeney lined a one-out single, but was picked off first despite holding just a two-step lead. Mike Aviles waved at a slider to end the inning.
The Sox had no hits from the second to the sixth inning, when Podsednik singled with one out. Pedroia followed with a double to the wall in left. Gonzalez knocked in one run with a sacrifice fly, and Ortiz flew out to end the inning.
Podsednik was the lone bright spot, going 3-for-4 with three singles and a stolen base. Meanwhile, Ortiz was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and four men left on base.
TOUGH TO SWALLOW: The first trip through the lineup was brutal for Beckett. He allowed five hits and four runs in the first two innings.
But he can hardly be faulted for how he pitched after. He allowed no hits and a walk over his last five innings, setting down 16 of 17 batters.
Beckett was been good lately, going seven or more innings in each of his last six starts and allowing two earned runs or fewer in five of those. In his previous start, he faced the minimum through five innings and lasted eight, giving up five hits and two runs.
THUMBING AROUND: Pedroia, still contending with a thumb injury, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a sixth-inning double, his second extra-base hit since May 13. He earned it by battling back from an 0-2 count. Pedroia also made a nice defensive play in the eighth, ranging past the bag and making a leaping throw to retire Giancarlo Stanton.
GONZO AT THE PLATE: Entering the game, Gonzalez hadn’t walked in his 103 plate appearances, the longest current streak for an AL player and the longest of his career.
Gonzalez, who was 6-for-25 on the just-concluded homestand, was 0-for-2 with a walk, an RBI and a strikeout on Monday, producing Boston’s only run on a fourth-inning sac fly.
With no outs and runners on first and second in the first, he went 3-0 against Johnson, but swung through Johnson’s eighth pitch, a 95-m.p.h. fastball for strike three.
With runners on second and third in the sixth, he swung through the first two pitches, an 89-m.p.h. slider and a 94-m.p.h. fastball, before working the count full. He reached for Johnson’s ninth pitch and lifted a sac fly to left.
GONZO IN THE FIELD: Before the game, Bobby Valentine said Gonzalez had been sound enough defensively in right field to play all three games this series. Gonzalez, who started his 13th game in right, didn’t meet his manager’s expectations. In the first inning, he bobbled Logan Morrison’s wall-ball double, letting Giancarlo Stanton score from first. Meanwhile, Ortiz looked comfortable at first, nimbly scooping a second-inning grounder.
QUIET VALENTINE: Valentine, who was tossed Sunday and made some interesting comments before the game regarding umpires, was docile during Monday's game. The only Sox player who squabbled with an umpire was Pedroia, who threw his hands up and remained at first after he was retired on an eighth-inning grounder. Valentine remained in the dugout.
WHERE’S THE KID? Valentine elected to use .185-hitting Nick Punto as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning against Falmouth native Steve Cishek. Watching from the bench was rookie Will Middlebrooks, who went 3-for-14 on the homestand but is batting .302. Punto struck out on four pitches.
RELIEVER RETURNS: Right-hander Mark Melancon, who had been in Triple-A since April 18, returned sporting a 49.50 ERA. He worked a 1-2-3 eighth, deflating it to 33.00.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Once the announced crowd of 32,562 found its seats, the stadium took on a pro-Red Sox vibe. Dormant Miami fans woke up and cheered when highlights of the Heat’s Game 7 victory over the Celtics were shown on the big screen in center. When the Red Sox threatened in the sixth inning, Boston and Miami fans dueled with "Let’s go Red Sox" and "Let’s go Marlins" chants.
ROOF-LESS: The game was played under a night sky, with Miami opening its retractable roof for the fifth time this season. During the first inning, Marlins president David Samson told reporters the team had the roof opened to snap its six-game losing streak. Temps were under 80 degrees and 60 percent humidity at game time.