- 142 wins
- 110 wins
MIAMI -- During a disjointed recent stretch of baseball, it seemed like the Red Sox wouldn't hit on nights they pitched, and vice versa. That's what made Wednesday night's 10-2 victory over the Marlins one to appreciate.
With a sparkling performance by lefty Felix Doubront and an eruption by the slumping offense, the Red Sox gave themselves a happy flight to Chicago, where they will have an off-day on Thursday and then open a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Friday.
Doubront, who was coming off a rare subpar start, regained all of his form, no-hitting the Marlins for 5 2/3 innings. He wound up allowing three hits over seven frames, walking one and striking out nine.
"I was feeling like something was going on, but I was just enjoying it, kind of thinking first of all to win and do a good job on the mound," said Doubront.
While Doubront was the standout performer from the mound, the Red Sox -- who took two out of three in Miami -- had a batch of hitting heroes.
David Ortiz belted his 15th home run of the season and was one of six Boston players to have a multihit game.
Dustin Pedroia, who had been quiet of late, scored twice, had two hits and drove in a run. Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and two RBIs. Nick Punto came on as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and wound up getting two hits in the inning.
"We got some hard-hit balls and David's home run really uplifted us," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Dustin drove the ball into right field and had RBIs and base hits. Adrian tacked on three hits. Scotty Podsednik is playing a great brand of baseball. He's doing everything you ask him to do -- plus some."
Yes, Podsednik, who continues to emerge as one of the biggest surprises of the first half. He added two more hits for the Red Sox in this one, raising his average to .373.
"He's great, man. It helps when guys come in with that attitude, especially with all the injuries we have," said Ortiz. "He comes ready to play every day. Even if he's not playing, he's ready to go."
Despite that rare mishap five days earlier against the Nationals, Doubront has been ready to go all year long. Regarded as a fourth or fifth starter when the season began, he is 7-3 with a 4.17 ERA.
Surprised? Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Doubront's most frequent batterymate, says that you shouldn't be.
"With the stuff's he's got, he's up there with CC [Sabathia] and Jonny [Lester] and all those guys, as far as left-handed pitchers go," said Saltalamacchia. "I think he just needs to stay healthy. That's the biggest thing for him. He's done a great job of keeping his body in shape. You've seen what he's doing."
While Doubront dazzled early, his offense chipped away against Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco. Mike Aviles started a third-inning rally with a single to center and moved to second on an error by center fielder Justin Ruggiano. Doubront bunted Aviles to third, and that set up Podsednik for a fielder's-choice RBI grounder.
The run that Boston scored in the fourth was far less methodical, as Ortiz unloaded for a one-out solo shot to left that gave the Sox a 2-0 lead.
"I just keep on working and try to help this ballclub as much as I can," said Ortiz.
In the sixth, there was another rally. Podsednik and Pedroia led off with singles, and Gonzalez roped an RBI single to right. Ortiz lifted a sacrifice fly to center and Doubront, who had yet to give up a hit, was in possession of a 4-0 lead.
It seemed Doubront might be on the verge of something special when he struck out the first two batters in the sixth. But Jose Reyes ended that thought when he smoked a 419-foot homer to left.
"He pitched very good and had good stuff," Reyes said. "You have to give him some credit. We're not hitting too good right now."
The Marlins threatened again in the seventh. Hanley Ramirez led off with a single and Giancarlo Stanton followed with a double, but Doubront buckled down.
He induced Omar Infante into a foul popup that Ortiz snared. Ruggiano hit a grounder to short in which Aviles fired to third for the out, allowing a run to score. Doubront maintained the 4-2 lead by getting Gaby Sanchez on a flyout to left.
The Red Sox then added to their lead in the eighth. Punto started it with a double high off the wall in right. Podsednik singled to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Pedroia rifled an RBI single and Gonzalez lofted an RBI single to left. The hits kept coming. Ortiz continued his solid night with an RBI single and Saltalamacchia's sac fly made it an 8-2 game.
It was only fitting that Punto capped the damage in the game-breaking eighth, lining a two-run single to left.
"That was nice," said Punto. "It was really big seeing Adrian and Pedroia and all the guys get some knocks there and drive in some runs. Let's carry that into Chicago and start getting on a roll and play some consistent baseball and try to climb up that ladder."