Marlins top Red Sox, snap losing streak
MIAMI (AP) — Balmy sea breeze is just what the Miami Marlins needed to snap their slump and beat Josh Beckett.
Some heat from Josh Johnson helped, too.
Desperate for a turnaround, the Marlins opened their retractable roof for the first time in nearly two months Monday night, took to the outdoor setting and snapped a six-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over Beckett and the Boston Red Sox.
Johnson outpitched his former teammate, and rookie Donovan Solano drove in two runs as the Marlins improved to 1-6 on their homestand. They’re 3-2 with the roof of their new ballpark open.
“It helped a little, because there was a little different feel in the ballpark,” said Heath Bell, who struck out the side in the ninth. “You could feel it a little more electric. I think the fans really liked it. I think we should do it once in a while.”
There was also a lively atmosphere afterward in the Marlins’ clubhouse, where heavy metal played on a boombox.
“Finally we start listening to music,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “It was dead there for the past couple of days. These guys’ feelings are hurt when they’re not winning. Hopefully this win against a good pitcher takes us on another hot streak.”
The Red Sox, last in the AL East, lost for the seventh time in eight games. A recent run of fine pitching against the Sox has contributed to their slump, manager Bobby Valentine said.
“I don’t think they’re pressing,” he said. “They’re trying very hard against real good pitchers.”
Beckett (4-7), the Marlins’ postseason star when they won the World Series in 2003, pitched against them for the first time. He fell behind 4-0 after two innings but didn’t allow another hit, retiring 14 in a row. He departed for a pinch hitter after seven innings and didn’t talk to reporters after the game.
Johnson (4-4) also went seven innings, allowing four hits and one run.
“He’s pretty tough,” Valentine said. “He had that 95 mph fastball going. It was elevating against some of our guys. He did a good job. Every fire he put out.”
Bell completed a five-hitter for his 13th save in 17 chances.
To change their luck, the Marlins opened the retractable roof on their new ballpark for the first time since April 18. President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest came up with the idea.
“He said, `We can’t trade for 25 guys, so let’s open the roof,'” team president David Samson said. “This is our version of a slump buster.”
On an unusually mild June evening, with low humidity and a temperature of 79 at game time, the Marlins played better from the start. They scored three times in the first inning to lead for only the second time since the homestand began.
Solano, in the lineup because Guillen gave second baseman Omar Infante the night off, had a hit and drove in two runs. He’s batting .455. Gaby Sanchez singled for his second RBI in as many games since being recalled from Triple-A. The Marlins went 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position after going 5 for 50 in those situations previously during the homestand.
“Lately we weren’t able to get the big hit, but today we were able to do that early in the game,” said Jose Reyes, who scored Miami’s first run.
Johnson needed 27 pitches to get through the first inning. After the first two batters reached he settled down, retiring 11 in a row during one stretch.
“It took me two batters to get my rhythm, but I made some good pitches when I needed to,” Johnson said.
Scott Podsednik singled in the sixth and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez. But five of the final nine Boston batters struck out.
Reyes, playing on his 29th birthday, led off the first with a triple and scored on Solano’s sacrifice fly. Giancarlo Stanton singled and scored from first when Logan Morrison doubled and right fielder Gonzalez bobbled the ball for an error. Sanchez followed with a run-scoring single.
Solano had a two-out RBI single in the second inning off Beckett, who fell to 0-3 in his past four starts.
NOTES: Red Sox OF Daniel Nava (sore left hand) again sat out. … Boston OF Cody Ross, sidelined since May 18 with a broken bone in his left foot, is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment Thursday with Triple-A Pawtucket. … Marlins LHP Mark Buehrle, scheduled to start Tuesday, has a chance to tie Kenny Rogers’ record of 11 consecutive wins in interleague games. … The video scoreboard showed highlights of the Heat’s victory over the Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference finals, which drew boos from Red Sox fans in the crowd.