Wins have been hard to come by lately for the Miami Marlins and they would enjoy nothing more than to grab a series win over the Boston Red Sox tonight before hitting the road.
The Marlins and Red Sox will close out a three-game set in south Florida and have split the first two installments of this series. Miami took the opener, 4-1, on Monday before dropping a 2-1 decision last night. Mark Buehrle was the tough-luck loser and permitted both runs and five hits in seven innings.
"Buehrle pitched well enough to win once again," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He pitched well, kept the team in the game. He had one bad inning with a couple bloopers here and there, one ball hit hard. He pitched well."
Logan Morrison had two hits and his homer in the seventh inning accounted for Miami's scoring. Jose Reyes, Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez all ended with two hits for the Marlins, who have lost seven of eight games on a nine-game homestand and sit six games off the lead in the National League East.
Miami will begin a six-game road trip against Tampa Bay and Boston on Friday.
Ricky Nolasco gets the call for the Fish tonight and he is only 2-4 with a 6.23 earned run average in his last six starts. Nolasco threw six innings in Friday's 5-1 setback to the Rays in which he allowed three runs and six hits to fall to 6-4 in 12 starts and raise his ERA slightly to 4.36.
Miami opened the season with a 5-1 record in Nolasco's first six starts. He went 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA in that span. Nolasco is 2-3 in six home starts this season and won his only start against Boston on June 18, 2009 in a 2-1 victory. The righty pitched five innings of one-run ball at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox ended a four-game slide and won for just the second time in nine tries with Tuesday's close win. Kelly Shoppach had an RBI double and Mike Aviles singled in a run during the seventh inning to lead Boston, which received another strong performance from starting pitcher Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz struck out nine batters and allowed one run in seven innings, while scattering five hits to lift his record to 7-2. Vicente Padilla pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Alfredo Aceves notched his 15th save in the ninth.
"I thought Clay was absolutely fantastic," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "(He's) throwing the ball as well as we've seen him throw it all year. He's really on a roll."
Buchholz has won three straight starts and hasn't lost since May 16. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was not in the starting lineup last night and struck out as a pinch-hitter. Big Papi could return to first base on Wednesday and is eight homers shy of 400 in his career.
Boston will also visit the Chicago Cubs on its seven-day, six-game road trip and is last in the American League East at 6 1/2 games off the pace.
Felix Doubront will try to pitch himself back into the win column when he takes the ball for Boston tonight. Doubront had won two straight and five of six starts until a 7-4 loss versus Washington on Friday in which he surrendered six runs and eight hits in just four innings. The loss dropped Doubront to 6-3 in 12 starts this season and raised his ERA to 4.34.
Doubront is 4-1 in six road assignments this season and the southpaw will face the Marlins for the first time.
The Marlins have lost seven straight series to the Red Sox since winning two of three in Boston in 1997. Miami is hosting Boston for the first time since the 2006 campaign. The Red Sox hold a 16-10 advantage all-time against the Marlins, including a 7-4 mark as the visitor.