Closing Time: Marlins get better of Red Sox in battle of worsts

Rob Bradford
August 11, 2015 - 6:45 pm
MIAMI -- This Koji Uehara-free closer thing has never really worked out too well over the past three seasons, and Tuesday night was no exception. Carrying a one-run lead into the ninth inning, the Red Sox turned to Junichi Tazawa to pick up his second career save. But the reliever couldn't get the job done, allowing the Marlins to score a game-tying run in the ninth. What it would ultimately lead to was a 5-4, 10-inning win for the worst team in the National League, the Marlins, beating the worst team in the American League, the Red Sox, at Marlins Park. "It's something that we talked about pregame," Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo said of the decision to use Tazawa as a closer. (Lovullo was subbing in for John Farrell after the manager's hernia surgery). "With lineup construction, depending where we were in the lineup with certain matchups. We didn't have a closer with certainty. We just figured based on where we were in the lineup, the way we wanted to construct it and have the right matchups. The way it lined up was with [Jean] Machi in the eighth and Tazawa in the ninth." Miami sealed the deal in the 10th against Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow. After Breslow gave up a leadoff triple to Dee Gordon, Lovullo decided to walk Martin Prado. The move didn't quite work out despite a strikeout of Derek Deitrich. With one out, the lefty-hitting Justin Bour rifled the game-winning hit into left-center field to score Gordon. "We thought about it. We definitely thought about it," said Lovullo when asked about possibly intentionally loading the bases after the leadoff triple. "But we determined the plan was we had the lefty-lefty matchups we wanted. We had the right guys we wanted up there against Craig and we just didn't' execute." Tazawa's blown save took the win away from Steven Wright, who would have claimed his third straight victory if not for the bullpen meltdown. The Red Sox starter came into the series opener against Miami having allowed just three runs over 15 innings in his last two starts. He continued the trend with his latest outing, allowing two runs over five innings. Wright left the game with two on and nobody out in the sixth inning, with reliever Ryan Cook allowing both of the runners to score. The start didn't equal Wright's two previous efforts, walking five and throwing more balls (54) then strikes (52). But considering the rotation's need for some sort of revelation heading into the season's final weeks, the knuckleballer continued to offer some optimism. Two other players that impressed were Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Betts' made his presence felt on his first day back from the seven-day concussion disabled list, notching hits in his first three at-bats while driving in a pair. Bradley Jr., who was coming off a five-RBI game Sunday, picked up where he left off, claiming another triple in as many games with his first at-bat. He also scored two runs while making a terrific leaping catch in front of the left field wall in the fourth. Bradley Jr. was making his first start in left field since April 15, 2013. "It's nice to see Jackie get do well," Lovullo said. "Here's a guy who has been working hard. He's been working hard for this moment. He deserves it. We all know he's capable of doing it and he's finally having the results from all that hard work he's put in. The catch. The at-bats. They've been very, very consistent." Factoring in Rusney Castillo's triple, the entire Red Sox outfield (which was without Hanley Ramirez because of his lingering bruised foot) combined to go 6-for-13 with three RBIs and two runs. For a box score, click here.