Marlins-Red Sox Preview

Nearly two weeks without Dustin Pedroia hasn’t stopped the Boston Red Sox from having one of their better offensive stretches of the season.

The Miami Marlins are beginning to have troubles without Giancarlo Stanton in their lineup.

Boston looks to stay hot at the plate while seeking a seventh victory in nine games in the opener of a two-game series with the visiting Marlins on Tuesday night.

Pedroia hasn’t played since June 24 because of a hamstring injury that landed him on the disabled list, although he’s increased activity recently and could return soon.

That should provide a boost for a Red Sox team whose 5.6 runs per game have been the catalyst for a 6-2 stretch. Boston (39-45) is on the verge of recording at least 10 hits in five straight games for the first time since June 21-26, 2013, after finishing with 10 in Sunday’s 5-4 win over Houston.

Hanley Ramirez had a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh while Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Hanigan (two RBIs) had three hits. Hanigan played in his third game since coming off the 60-day disabled list with a fractured right hand.

"Offensively, we’ve been doing way better the past couple of weeks," said David Ortiz, who started a non-interleague game at first base for the first time since 2006 in place of the struggling Mike Napoli. "I think we’ve been kind of starting to work into that good offensive team that everybody expected us to be."

Marlins manager Dan Jennings expects more from his club despite the loss of Stanton, who leads the majors with 27 home runs. Miami (35-48) won five of six immediately after Stanton fractured his left wrist June 26, but it couldn’t get much going during a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Marlins dropped the final two at Wrigley Field, 7-2 on Saturday and 2-0 on Sunday. They sent Marcell Ozuna, who was expected to help replace some of Stanton’s pop in the lineup, to Triple-A New Orleans following the finale.

Ozuna was mired in a 1-for-36 slump and went hitless in his last 19 at-bats. Dee Gordon, voted an All-Star starter along with Stanton, went 0 for 4 and is batting .182 in eight games with Stanton sidelined.

Gordon led the majors with a .356 average before Stanton’s injury but has dropped to .339.

”It’s frustrating right now,” Jennings said. ”We were on such a good momentum run. There’s enough talent in here to win. It’s about executing when the opportunity presents itself.”

Facing Wade Miley (8-7, 4.53 ERA) might not help matters. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 0.93 ERA in four career starts against the Marlins after allowing one earned run and striking out nine in seven innings of a 2-1 loss Aug. 16 while with Arizona.

Miley wasn’t as sharp Thursday, giving up four runs and tying a career high with seven walks in five innings of Boston’s 12-6 win over Toronto. He went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA over his previous three starts.

Dan Haren (6-5, 3.45) is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in his last four after giving up three earned runs in 5 2-3 innings Wednesday before Miami rallied for a 6-5 win over San Francisco.

The right-hander has thrown at least 100 pitches in each outing despite going into the seven only once.

Ortiz has three homers off Haren, who hasn’t faced the Red Sox since 2011 while with the Los Angeles Angels.