Jeffrey Loria was delighted when Jose Reyes led off Monday’s game with a triple and ended up scoring. The owner of the Marlins had heard that when Reyes scored in the first inning, his team won 90 percent of the time.
And, indeed, the Marlins won on Monday.
But Loria must have imagined it to be a bad omen on Tuesday when Reyes tripled once again to start things off for the Marlins, but was left stranded at third when Boston Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz struck out the next three.
The outcome this time? A 2-1 loss.
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“We got a man on third base with no outs,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Yesterday, we score that run and win. Today, we didn’t. We have to do that. We have to take advantage of that, and today we don’t do that.”
It was a fine line for the Marlins between winning and losing Tuesday.
There was the wasted leadoff triple by Reyes, as Buchholz then proceeded to strike out Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton to end the first.
Stanton would strike out four times — twice looking — by game’s end.
There was another missed opportunity in the third when, with runners at first and second and two outs, Ramirez bounced a ball up the middle that he beat out for an infield hit.
But third base coach Joe Espada gambled and had Reyes, who had been on second, continue running to the plate. Reyes was thrown out easily.
“The shortstop, he had to make an off-balance throw and we were hoping he would bounce the ball,” Reyes said. “It didn’t happen that way. They executed it to perfection.”
Again, the Marlins came up empty.
And then there was the Boston seventh. With Mark Buehrle and Buchholz each tossing a shutout, Kelly Shoppach broke the scoreless deadlock with a two-out RBI double.
One batter later, it appeared as if Buehrle and the Marlins would get out of the inning without sustaining more damage when Mike Aviles popped a foul near the Boston dugout.
But just as catcher John Buck was reaching out to position his mitt to make the catch, the ball struck a wire holding up the backstop screen and glanced off his glove. Given new life, Aviles promptly stroked a RBI single up the middle to make it 2-0.
Even had Buck made the difficult catch, it wouldn’t have mattered.
“The ump said [when the ball hit the wire], it was dead,” Buck said.
It was another night of frustration for the Marlins with runners in scoring position. They went 1 for 5 in those situations, and the one hit — Ramirez’s infield single — failed to produce a run.
Only two major league teams have a lower average with runners in scoring position than the Marlins, who are sitting at .220.
Their only run Tuesday came when Logan Morrison led off the seventh with his fifth home run.
But his leadoff single in the ninth off Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves went for naught, as the struggling lower half of the Marlins order came up empty, as Gaby Sanchez (.195), Chris Coghlan (.140) and Buck (.163) were each retired to end the game.
“Buehrle pitched well enough to win again,” Guillen said. “He had one bad inning.”