For the 500th consecutive game, Boston's Fenway Park was sold out, and if the Red Sox continue to play like they did in Wednesday's 6-1 victory over the Marlins, they will sell out 500 more.
The Red Sox certainly weren't spectacular, but they capitalized on every opportunity the Marlins handed them. A patient team, Boston walked seven times and used timely hits from last year's MVP Dustin Pedroia and reserve outfielder Rocco Baldelli to drive in four of the six runs. Marlins' pitchers actually handcuffed Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay, Boston's potent middle-of-the-order hitters, by keeping them hitless and striking them out a combined five times.
Marlins' starter Andrew Miller (2-3) lasted into the fifth inning, but his wildness caught up with him. The lanky 6-foot-7 lefty walked four and threw only 54 of his 100 pitches for strikes. He was charged with four earned runs and took the loss despite striking out six batters.
Former Marlin Brad Penny (6-2) won his 100th career game, even though he was just average. Penny lasted only five innings and walked more hitters (4) than he struck out (3). The only run the Marlins could push across came in the first inning off of an error by centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Much like the game before, Boston's bullpen was lights out, allowing only five baserunners and no runs over the last four innings.
The Marlins' pitching has been subpar in Boston, but the hitting has been worse. The team is collectively hitting .200 in Beantown and .095 with runners in scoring position. Boston, while not tearing the cover off of the ball, is hitting .473 with runners in scoring position, further emphasizing the team's ability to rise to the occasion.
The Marlins hope to salvage the series tonight by starting Ricky Nolasco (2-6) against lefty Jon Lester (5-5). Recently recalled from the minors, Nolasco has put together two impressive starts in a row and owns a June earned run average of 2.77. But he and the rest of the Marlins will have their work cut out for them against Lester, as his June earned run average is 1.13 and he has only allowed four hits this month.
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