Bullpen squanders lead in 11-run 7th vs. Sox
Four relievers allow 12 hits in inning; Dietrich, Dean homer
BOSTON -- For 5 2/3 innings on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, Trevor Richards showed the Marlins why they should be optimistic even in the face of a difficult season.
In an ugly seventh, the Miami bullpen offered a reminder of the growing pains that remain.
Drew Rucinski, Adam Conley, Drew Steckenrider and Javy Guerra combined to spoil what began as an encouraging night for the Marlins, yielding 11 runs in the seventh inning en route to a 14-6 loss to the Red Sox.
"I'm not sure how to explain it," Miami manager Don Mattingly said. "It was just one of those nights where nothing worked."
Before that, Richards and his dazzling changeup had largely held Major League Baseball's most explosive offensive team at bay. The rookie struck out six hitters, and all he allowed before the sixth inning was a pair of solo home runs -- one to Eduardo Nunez and another to Mookie Betts. He didn't issue a walk until he turned over the Boston batting order for a third time.
Even better, the Marlins staked themselves to an early lead against Red Sox starter David Price, who exited with a left wrist contusion after getting hit by a comebacker in the third inning. Derek Dietrich homered in the second, and J.T. Realmuto doubled home the go-ahead run in the third.
But with one out in the sixth inning, Richards issued back-to-back walks to Betts and Andrew Benintendi. Two batters later, J.D. Martinez got on top of a fastball at the top of the zone and rolled it into center field for a two-out RBI single. That prompted Mattingly to hand the game over to his bullpen.
"Really, we were in pretty good shape," Mattingly said. "It had been a pretty good game up to that inning -- and then the skies opened."
Indeed, an inning later, the game spun out of control for the Marlins.
Betts knocked a go-ahead, two-run double and pinch-hitter Brock Holt laced an RBI triple to highlight an 11-run seventh for the Red Sox, an inning in which the Marlins needed four relievers to get three outs. It was Boston's most prolific offensive inning since a 2003 outburst, also against the Marlins (14 runs on 13 hits, bottom 1st).
"We've got to make some pitches," Mattingly said. "But these guys have a club that, it seems like, they rattle off runs quick. We just didn't execute pitches we needed to execute."
No matter who took the mound, the result was the same. The only outs in the inning came when Benintendi dropped down a sacrifice bunt with Conley on the mound and then Benintendi -- up for the second time -- grounded into a double play against Guerra.
"It happened pretty quick," Conley said. "Looking at those at-bats, knowing those guys are going to be aggressive, getting into the later innings at their home park, I wish I'd tried to expand more than I did. My mindset going in there was to make quality pitches to get those guys out, but that's how the game goes sometimes."
The bullpen implosion Wednesday came one night after the Marlins had squandered a 6-4 lead and lost by an 8-7 score in walk-off fashion in the ninth inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mattingly thought he had the matchup he wanted in the seventh inning. Switch-hitter Blake Swihart had been introduced as a pinch-hitter, with lefty-swinging Jackie Bradley Jr. on deck. Swihart, like Bradley, is more vulnerable against left-handed pitchers, so Mattingly called upon southpaw Conley to snuff out a budding rally. Conley, who had a 1.42 ERA in early July, has faded in the second half with a 7.47 ERA. Swihart singled home a run and Bradley doubled home another to tie the game and continue the Red Sox's hit parade.
The longest-tenured Marlin and one of the shortest-tenured Marlins both went deep. Dietrich, who has played 586 games in the big leagues with the organization, knocked a solo homer off Price in the second inning for his career-best 16th home run of the season. In the eighth inning, Austin Dean took Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier deep. It was the third homer of the season for Dean, who was playing in just his 12th career game.
Dan Straily, who starts Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET series opener vs. the Blue Jays at Marlins Park, made his Major League debut against Toronto, tossing six strong innings for Oakland late in the 2012 season. Straily doesn't get the chance to face the Blue Jays much these days pitching in the National League, but he's a perfect 5-0 in seven career Interleague starts at home. Toronto will counter with right-hander Aaron Sanchez.