Perhaps the open roof gave the Miami Marlins the edge they needed to end their worst home losing streak of the year.
There’s plenty of evidence showing that giving the ball to Mark Buehrle in interleague play is a good way to win a game.
Buehrle looks to match a major league record by winning an 11th straight interleague decision Tuesday night when Miami tries to hand the Boston Red Sox a season high-tying fifth consecutive defeat.
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With the Marlins (32-29) starting their homestand 0-6 before this series, team management decided to take advantage of favorable weather conditions Monday night and open the retractable roof at new Marlins Park for the first time since April 18. Miami responded with a 4-1 victory to improve to 3-2 when the roof is open.
“It helped a little, because there was a little different feel in the ballpark,” said closer Heath Bell, who converted his 10th straight save opportunity. “You could feel it a little more electric. I think the fans really liked it.”
With Buehrle (5-6, 3.49 ERA) taking the ball, the Marlins may not need to turn to a gimmick or a “slump buster,” as team president David Samson called Monday’s open-roof experiment.
The veteran left-hander is the all-time leader with 24 interleague wins and is 10-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last 15 starts against the opposite league. If Buehrle wins Tuesday, he’ll tie Kenny Rogers’ record of 11 consecutive interleague victories.
Of course, he’ll be facing the AL after all of the previous wins came with the Chicago White Sox against NL foes.
Buehrle is 6-6 with a 4.46 ERA in 16 starts versus Boston, but the Marlins southpaw will face a Red Sox team that has struck out 41 times and is batting .198 with 10 total runs during its skid.
“I don’t think they’re pressing,” said manager Bobby Valentine, whose team has dropped seven of eight and is last in the AL East. “They’re trying very hard against real good pitchers.”
Boston (29-32) is hoping for another good start from Clay Buchholz (6-2, 5.77) after he pitched a four-hitter in Thursday’s 7-0 victory over Baltimore. The right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last three starts after recording a 7.84 ERA in his first nine outings of 2012.
“The only adjustment was the grip (on the changeup). I think my grip was a little off,” Buchholz told the Red Sox’s official website after his third career shutout. “I’ve been able to free that up a little bit.”
Buchholz, who is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in three career interleague starts, will face the Marlins for the first time.
Miami is batting .199 with 14 runs in the first seven games of its homestand, but the club went 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position Monday after going 5 for 50 in those situations in the previous six contests.
“Lately we weren’t able to get the big hit, but today we were able to do that early in the game,” shortstop Jose Reyes said.
It’s uncertain if second baseman Omar Infante will return to Miami’s lineup Tuesday after rookie Donovan Solano went 1 for 3 with two RBIs in the series opener. Solano is batting .455 (10 for 22) since being called up May 20.
Red Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks could start at third base Tuesday after Kevin Youkilis got the nod Monday.
There’s a good chance David Ortiz will make a second straight start at first base for Boston. The usual DH is a .345 hitter (20 for 58) against Buehrle with two homers and eight doubles.