Returning home is a boost as Red Sox batter Marlins
When the doors to the Red Sox clubhouse swung open after Tuesday night’s 7-5 victory over the Marlins, “Hustle Hard [Remix]’’ by Ace Hood (featuring Rick Ross and Lil Wayne) blared from speakers as David Ortiz’s 7-year-old son, D’Angelo, chased Cody Ross’s 5-year-old boy, Hudson, around the room.
Toxic environment? What toxic environment?
After returning home from a successful 4-2 trip to Miami and Chicago and facing reports about poor team chemistry, there appeared to be no such evidence to support those claims as the Sox kicked off a nine-game homestand in rousing fashion before 37,701.
The Red Sox (34-33) climbed above .500 for the first time since June 7 by erupting for 10 hits, including home runs by Ortiz, Ross, and Kelly Shoppach, all off Miami starter Mark Buerhle, who absorbed the loss (5-8) after giving up six runs in five innings.
It came in support of Clay Buchholz (8-2), who picked up his fourth consecutive win, giving up five runs (all of which were generated by Miami designated hitter Logan Morrison) on nine hits over six innings.
“It was interesting that Clay didn’t have his great stuff tonight and the offense seemed to sense it,’’ said Sox manager Bobby Valentine. “They were going to do what they had to do to get us enough runs. David started it off with a big two-run homer and it was great getting Cody back with a homer and Kelly Shoppach picked another pitch on 3-and-1 and gave us two runs with one swing.
“It was terrific.’’
The only thing that cast a pall on the good times was news that second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who went 1 for 3, appeared to reinjure his right thumb in the seventh when reliever Ryan Webb jammed him on an 95-mile-per-hour fastball inside and induced him to pop up to first base.
Pedroia missed six games with a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb suffered May 28.
“He seemed to think it was a reoccurrence,’’ Valentine said. “So we’ll see how it is tomorrow.’’
Buchholz gave up a pair of runs in the first inning.
Hanley Ramirez reached on a one-out single to left. After Buchholz fanned Giancarlo Stanton, Morrison gave Miami a 2-0 lead when he drove a 3-1 pitch over the Sox bullpen in right field.
Ortiz reciprocated in the bottom of the first when he clobbered a 3-1 pitch from Buehrle to right that made it 2-2.
“I was just trying to be patient,’’ Ortiz said. “The other pitcher knows what he’s doing out there and he knows how to spot his pitches and you just have to be patient with him.’’
The Sox tacked on two more runs against Buehrle in the second for a 4-2 lead.
Will Middlebrooks led off the inning by beating out a ground ball to shortstop Jose Reyes before Shoppach launched a towering two-run homer off the Sports Authority sign in left.
Buchholz scuffled in the third. After inducing Reyes to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, Buchholz walked Ramirez, then hit Stanton. Morrison then ripped a double that scored Ramirez to pull the Marlins within 4-3.
Ross, making his return to the lineup after being out nearly a month with a fractured navicular bone in his left foot, made a splash in the fourth when he tagged Buehrle for his ninth homer and a 5-3 lead.
The Marlins rallied with two out in the fifth when Morrison belted a two-run double to left center that eluded Kalish, who stopped short on the warning track expecting the ball to hit high off the wall. Instead, Morrison’s hit seemed to fade and hit at the bottom of the wall, enabling Ramirez and Stanton (singles) to score to make it 5-5.
“Overall, I felt like my pitches were there, but I didn’t have the strike-curveball that I had the last couple of outings,’’ Buchholz said. “It was just one guy who came up with key hits in key situations for them.’’
Morrison was gunned down at the plate by Kevin Youkilis trying to score the go-ahead run to end the inning.
The Sox broke the tie in the fifth when Adrian Gonzalez’s sacrifice scored Mike Aviles, who reached on a ground-rule double to right and advanced on Pedroia’s sacrifice bunt.
The Sox tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Middlebrooks followed a Youkilis double to right with a double to center off Chad Gaudin.
Matt Albers entered the game in the seventh and combined with Andrew Miller to strand Reyes after he went all the way to third on Kalish’s error.
“He was 3 for 4 on catches,’’ Valentine said of Kalish, who made a spectacular sliding catch on Reyes’ leadoff fly to center in the first. “That’s not bad. He got better as the game went on. Actually, the first inning catch was terrific and then there was another step to be taken on the one high-fly ball [that resulted in a RBI double for Morrison in the third]. He said the ball that went in and out his glove [in the seventh] will never happen again and then the next two plays were terrific, going to his right and to his left.’’
Albers struck out Ramirez and got Stanton to fly to left before Miller entered and got Morrison to fly to center. Alfredo Aceves earned his 17th save with a clean ninth.
Asked whether it was the type of win that helped build team chemistry, which an ESPN.com report cited was sorely lacking in a “toxic’’ clubhouse, Valentine replied, “I think guys are very focused on doing what they have to do to be as good as they can be. I’ve seen that from Day 1.
“Obviously when you don’t have the record that everybody wants after 67 games, it’s crap like that that you have to address,’’ he said. “I think they know what they have to do and they’re doing a heck of a job.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.