The Red Sox are out for a sweep Thursday night as they take on Carlos Zambrano and the Miami Marlins.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Red Sox 6, Marlins 5, Final -- Alfredo Aceves closes out the ninth in short order, and the Sox have a great win--perhaps the best of the year--thanks to the likes of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Kalish, and Daniel Nava.
Red Sox 6, Marlins 5, End 8th -- A truly exciting rally has the Red Sox back on top, and it's mostly thanks to the call-ups. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the one "veteran" to get in on the act, starting the rally with a leadoff wall ball double to left-center that seemed like it was going to get out. That it was a few feet short becomes inconsequential just a few pitches later, as Will MIddlebrooks continues his excellent night by fighting back from an 0-2 count, getting a high 2-2 fastball, and drilling it to dead center for a two-run shot that ties the game at 5-5.
Ryan Kalish kept the rally going by hitting a single through the right side of the infield, then made the sort of play that's going to make him a fan favorite in a hurry. With the hit-and-run on, Kalish not only stayed out of the double play on the ground ball out from Mike Aviles, but gunned it to third, leaving him just 90 feet away with one out. Up came Daniel Nava, and right now when the Sox need just a hit, there might not be anybody better. A 1-0 splitter tails away from Nava as it reaches the plate, but locked in at the plate as he is, Nava goes out and gets it, lacing a single into center and bringing the go-ahead run home.
Three outs to go.
Marlins 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 8th -- Giancarlo Stanton picks up another hit, but this time it's just a single, and Scott Atchison is able to erase him with a Logan Morrison double play ball to secure another 1-2-3 inning.
Marlins 5, Red Sox 3, End 7th -- The heart of the Red Sox order goes quietly in the bottom of the seventh, with another weak ground ball from Adrian Gonzalez getting things started. It was on June 9, 2009 that David Ortiz, in the midst of a year-and-a-half long slump, was given eyedrops and never looked back. Maybe Adrian needs some?
Marlins 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 7th -- Scott Atchison continues to provide the Red Sox with effective relief pitching, retiring the side in order in the seventh. Since allowing two runs to the Orioles earlier in the month, he's bounced back with 5.2 scoreless.
Marlins 5, Red Sox 3, End 6th -- With Ryan Webb into the game for Carlos Zambrano, the Red Sox go down in rapid fashion, with Mike Aviles, Daniel Nava, and Dustin Pedroia all grounding out in a 1-2-3 sixth.
Marlins 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 6th -- It doesn't take long for the pitching to ruin the offense's good work from the last two innings. After getting through the last four innings without allowing a baserunner, Daisuke ended his night on a bad note, tossing a slider right over the heart of the plate to Giancarlo Stanton, who did not miss the opportunity, launching a high-speed rocket shot into the Monster seats. Andrew Miller, who hadn't given up a hit since May 29, followed up by allowing a two-out single and double to Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante respectively, making it 5-3 before the final out was recorded.
Red Sox 3, Marlins 3, End 5th -- It's getting harder and harder to justify keeping Will Middlebrooks out of the lineup. After another free pass from Carlos Zambrano gave the Sox a leadoff baserunner in Adrian Gonzalez, a single and a ground ball (from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hustled to first to beat out what would have been an inning-ending double play) moved him to third with Middlebrooks up to bat. Making good on the opportunity, the young third baseman looped a single into right field, bringing Gonzalez home to tie the game.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th -- If you could just eliminate that one inning, Daisuke would be in the midst of a perfect game after another 1-2-3 frame. Unfortunately, that's what Sox fans have been saying for years now.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 2, End 4th -- Carlos Zambrano's wild ways finally come back to haunt him some. A pair of leadoff hit batsmen in Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the two runs that eventually score off of Zambrano, as Will Middlebrooks knocks one in, and then breaks up a double play at second to allow Mike Aviles to bring the other home on a sacrifice fly. This one is anyone's ball game right now.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- Some decent contact for the Marlins results in three fly balls, including one which Nava nearly allows to grab some wall as he ventures back towards the Monster, but all three are outs just the same. And with only 11 pitches thrown in the inning, Matsuzaka has his pitch count if not under control, then at least a lot more reasonable.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- It won't matter what Daisuke Matsuzaka does on the mound from here if the Sox can't put up some runs. One night after plating 15, the Sox have been held in check for the first three innings by Carlos Zambrano. A 1-2-3 third doesn't even come with so much as a fly ball, and Zambrano requires just 10 pitches to get the heart of the Red Sox lineup. Not a good sign.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Daisuke Matsuzaka does manage another 1-2-3 inning, but it does not come without resistance, as the Marlins make him throw plenty of pitches in the process. With his count up over 60 already, Matsuzaka is going to need some quick outs to get that quality start.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- Carlos Zambrano surrenders his third walk of the night, but that sort of wildness is acceptable when it comes with plenty of strikeouts. With Ryan Kalish's free pass sandwiched between whiffs of Will Middlebrooks and Mike Aviles, Zambrano needed only a Daniel Nava ground ball to end the inning uneventfully.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- A quick 1-2-3 inning ending in a strikeout of Jose Reyes begs the question where this Daisuke was in the first. That, however, is how Daisuke works. He pitches badly, and then shows you what he can do just to make all the terrible innings that much worse. The good news is that, at least for his last outing, that pattern ultimately left the Red Sox with a quality start.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- The Red Sox threaten to do to Carlos Zambrano in the bottom half of the inning what the Marlins did to Daisuke in the top half, but they can't quite follow through. After a leadoff walk to Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia managed to beat out a double play ball allowing Adrian Gonzalez to move him to third when he sliced a single into left field. David Ortiz walked behind him, loading the bases with one out, but neither Cody Ross nor Jarrod Saltalamacchia could pick up the big hit, leaving the Sox with a pop up, a strikeout, and no runs to end the first.
Marlins 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- It's becoming clear that switching replacing Daniel Bard with Daisuke Matsuzaka was nothing more than a horizontal move for the Red Sox. In another awful first, Matsuzaka fell behind 2-0, gave up a leadoff single, and with one out walked Giancarlo Stanton to put men on first and third. While a strikeout of Logan Morrison may have provided some hope for one of his patented Houdini acts, Greg Dobbs erased that hope with a line drive to right field, scampered to second with the third stolen base of the inning, and then scored on a bloop single to center to make it 3-0.
Not what you want from Daisuke, but about what you'd expect.