By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) _ Daniel Nava singled in the go-ahead run to cap a
three-run eighth inning and the surging Boston Red Sox completed a
sweep of the stumbling Miami Marlins, 6-5 on Thursday night.
Boston tied the score on a two-run homer by Will Middlebrooks,
who drove in four runs. Ryan Kalish then singled, raced to third on
a groundout to first and scored on Nava’s single up the middle.
Alfredo Aceves pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 21
opportunities. Scott Atchison (2-0) allowed one hit over the
seventh and eighth.
The Red Sox won their fifth straight game and the seventh in
their last eight as they matched their season-best mark of three
games over .500.
The Marlins took a lead in all three games but lost them all as
they dropped their fourth straight overall and 13th in their last
Miami went ahead 5-3 with two runs in the sixth. Giancarlo
Stanton, in a 2-for-31 slump, hit his first homer in 12 games and
15th of the season to make it 4-3. That ended Daisuke Matsuzaka’s
streak of 14 consecutive outs and brought in lefty Andrew Miller.
He retired the next batter before giving up a single to Greg
Dobbs and a run-scoring double to Omar Infante.
Jarrod Saltalmacchia started the winning rally in the eighth
with a double off Randy Choate. Edward Mujica (0-3) came in and
served up Middlebrooks’ long, tying shot.
Then Nava, who had six singles in the last two games, lined a
clean single to center.
In just his third start of the season since having Tommy John
elbow surgery on June 10, 2011, Matsuzaka gave up a leadoff single
in the first to Jose Reyes, who went to third on a slow grounder to
shortstop Mike Aviles, who got the out at first. Stanton walked and
stole second and both runners scored on a single by Dobbs. After
Dobbs stole second, he came in on a single by Infante.
Mastsuzaka ended the inning by retiring Scott Cousins on a fly
ball to center and didn’t allow another runner until Stanton
In his previous start, a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs, he set
down 13 of his last 14 batters after allowing three runs.
Carlos Zambrano gave up one hit through three innings before
Boston tied the game with two runs in the fourth and one in the
He hit the first two batters, Cody Ross and Saltalamacchia, in
the fourth. Ross scored on a single by Middlebrooks and
Saltalamacchia came in on a sacrifice fly by Aviles.
The Red Sox evened the score at 3 on another RBI single by
Middlebrooks, driving in Adrian Gonzalez, who led off the fifth
with a walk.
NOTES: Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia returned to the lineup after
missing one game as a precaution when he felt discomfort in his
right hand on his last at-bat in Tuesday night’s 7-5 win. …
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria spoke to his struggling team before the
game. … Miami optioned RHP Chris Hatcher to New Orleans and
recalled LHP Mike Dunn from the Triple-A team. … The Red Sox
begin a three-game series at home against the Atlanta Braves on
Friday night, sending Jon Lester (4-4) to the mound against Jair
Jurrjens (0-2). … Anibal Sanchez (3-5) is scheduled to pitch
Friday night for Miami in the opener of a three-game home series
against Toronto, which plans to start Ricky Romero (7-1).
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)