Final: Red Sox 6, Marlins 5: Sox get the sweep after Aceves closes the door with two flyouts and a popout. With 4 RBIs and a 3-for-4 performance, Middlebrooks is the hero.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 6, Marlins 5 : Here come the young guns. Middlebrooks cranks a two-run homer that ties things up and Nava follows it up with an RBI single, scoring Kalish, who singled and advanced to third on some heads-up baserunning when Aviles grounded out to first.
And suddenly, the Sox are in line for the sweep.
Top 8th: Marlins 5, Red Sox 3: Make that 6.2 straight scoreless innings for Atchison. Stanton singled, but Atchison got a broken-bat 6-4-3 double play out of Morrison to end the inning.
Time to sing about that sweet girl that gives Neil Diamond good times that seem good.
Bottom 7th: Marlins 5, Red Sox 3: The lefty-on-lefty matchup pays off for Ozzie. Gonzalez weakly chops one to Choate, Ortiz softly pops out to third and Ross to ground out to short. The Sox have six outs left to try for the sweep.
Top 7th: Marlins 5, Red Sox 3: Nice play by Middlebrooks to nail the speedy Reyes at first, and Atchison sets the Marlins down in order in the seventh. That makes 5.2 straight scoreless innings for the righty.
The lefty Randy Choate on for Miami with Gonzalez and Ortiz due up.
Bottom 6th: Marlins 5, Red Sox 3: Grounders for Aviles, Nava and Pedroia off Webb. Scott Atchison on for the Sox.
Top 6th: Marlins 5, Red Sox 3: Matsuzaka’s 101st pitch, his most this season, was also his last after Stanton crushed a bullet atop the Monster to give Miami the lead. He got the hook in favor of Andrew Miller, who served up a single to Dobbs and a run-scoring double off the Monster to Infante.
Dice-K’s final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR.
Zambrano is also done. Ryan Webb on for the Marlins.
Zambrano’s final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, 2 HBP.
Bottom 5th: Marlins 3, Red Sox 3: Middlebrooks once again proving his worth, this time with a flare to right that tied things up and scored Gonzalez, who walked to lead off the inning and moved to third on a Ross single and a Salty fielder’s choice. In his last four at bats, MIddlebrooks has two singles, a homer and 4 RBIs. Kalish strands runners on first and third with a groundout to first.
Top 5th: Marlins 3, Red Sox 2: Miami goes down in order again. That makes 13 straight retired for Dice-K going back to the last out of the first inning.
Bottom 4th: Marlins 3, Red Sox 2: If Dice-K rediscovered his form in the second inning, Zambrano just regained his wildness. He plunked Ross on a stinger to his left arm and drilled Salty in the back to start the inning. Middlebrooks then followed up with a single to right on a 3-1 count — he nearly got hit too — that scored Ross.
Once Zambrano started throwing strikes again, Kalish reached on a fielder’s choice, avoiding a double play on a nice takeout slide by Middlebrooks, and Aviles scored Salty on a sacrifice fly to center. Sox finally on the board.
Top 4th: Marlins 3, Red Sox 0L The Marlins get some solid cuts in against Dice-K, but wind up with little more than a couple flyouts. Nava tracked one down off Dobbs’ bat at the Monster and ripped his glove on the catch, so he had to jog into the dugout to get a new one. Dice-K is through four innings, and has retired Miami in order since his disastrous first frame.
Bottom 3rd: Marlins 3, Red Sox 0: Groundouts for Pedroia, Gonzalez and Ortiz. Nothing doing against Zambrano, who didn’t make it past three innings in each of his past two starts.
Top 3rd: Marlins 3, Red Sox 0: It appears that Dice-K has found his form. He gets Ramirez to weakly ground out to second, strikes out Stanton looking after peppering the outside corner all at bat versus the righty and Morrison to ground out to third. Dice-K has now retired seven straight.
Bottom 2nd: Marlins 3, Red Sox 0: Zambrano working his breaking ball pretty well now, getting Middlebrooks swinging on a splitter, Aviles swinging on a cutter and Nava to ground out on a sinker. He did walk Kalish on consecutive splitters, though.
Top 2nd: Marlins 3, Red Sox 0: Dice-K sets the Marlins down in order, striking out Reyes to end the inning. He needed just 10 pitches to get through the second, basically the opposite of the first.
Bottom 1st: Marlins 3, Red Sox 0: Strap in, folks. We might be here for the long haul. Gifted a 3-0 lead, Zambrano promptly walked Nava, the 10th free pass he has given out in his past 4.1 innings. Pedroia reached on a fielder’s choice, Gonzalez singled to the opposite field and Ortiz walked to load the bases. After Ross swung at the first pitch, popping out to first, Salty struck out swinging.
So Zambrano escapes a jam but still threw 25 pitches and walked a pair.
Top 1st: Marlins 3, Red Sox 0: The boos came raining down on Dice-K after a miserable start. Dobbs roped a two-run single to right, scoring Reyes, who singled up the middle to lead off the game, and Stanton, who walked on a full-count 91-mph fastball that bounced in the dirt in the opposite batter’s box. Dobbs then stole second and Infante drove him in with a single to center.
Three hits, three stolen bases, three runs and 33 pitches later, Dice-K gets Cousins to fly out to center to end the inning.
Pregame: The Sox will send Dice-K (0-2, 5.73 ERA) to the mound with a chance for their first sweep since April 23-25 at Minnesota, not counting the two games they took from Seattle in mid-May. Carlos Zambrano (4-5, 3.92 ERA) will try to stop the bleeding for the Marlins, who have been outscored 32-12 in their past three games against Boston.
Alex “Intern” Prewitt here with your live updates tonight. Enjoy the game and, as always, your comments are welcome.