Red Sox Live Blog: Josh Johnson Silences Sox Offense En Route to 4-1 Marlins Victory

Red Sox Live Blog: Josh Johnson Silences Sox Offense En Route to 4-1 Marlins VictoryFinal, Marlins 4-1: The slump continues as the Red Sox offense went silent in the team’s fourth straight loss and seventh in eight contests.

Josh Beckett struggled in the first inning, but rebounded and was lights out the rest of the way. But neither he — nor the offense — could dig out of the early hole.

The only positive for the Red Sox was the performance of Mark Melancon, who pitched a clean inning in the eighth. Now, the Red Sox have dropped three games below .500.

End 8th, Marlins 4-1: Well, Mark Melancon made his return to the Red Sox for the first time since April 17.

He pitched a clean inning, one that included making a nice sliding catch and throw on a ground ball. That should encourage the Red Sox.

It’ll be baby steps to incorporate him back into the bullpen mix, but I’m sure it felt nice for Melancon just to escape an inning in the majors for a change.

Mid 8th, Marlins 4-1: Look at Hanley Ramirez making some strong plays at third base.

It took some serious sacrifice for Ramirez to slide over from shortstop after the team inked Jose Reyes to a huge deal.

Also, Podsednik continued to rack up the hits, getting the third of the game. The rest of the team only has two hits. Crazy, right?

End 7th, Marlins 4-1: Beckett continued to make it through the seventh inning without any problems.

He rung up Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano to raise his strikeout total to five.

The Sox had Mark Melancon warming up in the bullpen, so it’ll be interesting to see if he makes his first appearance in this one. He said confidence was never an issue before his demotion.

Mid 7th, Marlins 4-1: Ryan Sweeney worked a long at-bat against Johnson, a 10-pitch one to be exact.

But Johnson continued to befuddle the Sox lineup, racking up his seventh strikeout of the night.

When healthy, Johnson can be one of the best pitchers in the majors, but injuries have shortened his last two seasons. In this one, he’s flashing his best stuff.

End 6th, Marlins 4-1: With a 1-2-3 inning in that frame, Beckett has now retired 13 straight batters.

At this point, at least he’s eating up innings. With his efficiency — and longevity — Beckett can alleviate the pressure on the bullpen.

Mid 6th, Marlins 4-1: Scott Podsednik has been a hitting machine for the Red Sox, collecting his second hit of the night.

This time around, the offense took advantage as Dustin Pedroia unloaded a double to drive in Podsednik. That was the team’s first extra-base hit of the game.

But that’s as far as the offense got with David Ortiz flying out.

End 5th, Marlins 4-0: Matching his counterpart, Beckett has also retired 10 batters in a row.

But Johnson’s performance has been stronger in the fact that he hasn’t allowed a single extra-base hit in this game.

He’s just allowed two singles, one to Podsednik and the other to Sweeney.

Mid 5th, Marlins 4-0: Josh Johnson has now retired 10 consecutive Red Sox batters.

Through five innings, he’s only allowed two hits and a walk while striking out five batters. He’s lowered his ERA to 4.26 with that performance.

Like Beckett, Johnson has gotten some unlucky breaks in the past with numbers not reflecting his performance.

End 4th, Marlins 4-0: Josh Beckett racked up his fourth strikeout of the game, fanning his counterpart, Josh Johnson.

He’s pitched better in the past two innings, but those first two frames will continue to haunt him until the offense gets it going.

The hitting hasn’t exactly been there in the past few games, by the way.

Mid 4th, Marlins 4-0: With Adrian Gonzalez flying out in that at-bat, that’s now 105 plate appearances he’s gone without drawing a walk.

It seems every time that he gets it going with a home run, he just can’t capitalize and peel off a scorching streak to get hot.

End 3rd, Marlins 4-0: For the first time in this game, Josh Beckett got a 1-2-3 inning.

He relied mainly on his four-seamer, two-seamer and his changeup to get out of that one unscathed.

Also, props to Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez. After making the All-Star team last year, he was briefly demoted to Triple-A for his struggles. He’s back up and done fine as of late.

Mid 3rd, Marlins 4-0: Josh Johnson has been cruising, making quick work of the Red Sox lineup.

Beckett led off the third and promptly struck out. He’s shown he can break out the bat when needed, hitting a long — close to a homer — single in Philadelphia.

Beckett could certainly help his cause next time around and give himself some run support.

End 2nd, Marlins 4-0: Josh Beckett has continued to struggle in this one, allowing six hits through two innings and another run.

Donovan Solano made him pay, hitting a single to drive in catcher John Buck. This certainly isn’t the ideal start for Beckett, who is facing his former team for the first time.

Mid 2nd, Marlins 3-0: Ryan Sweeney got picked off at first base just now. Well, that’s a rare sight since he isn’t a speedy threat.

It seemed to catch Mike Aviles off guard as well. He struck out swinging on the next pitch.

Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson has bounced back pretty well after his troubles with the first two batters of the game.

End 1st, Marlins 3-0: These are the risks that come with playing Adrian Gonzalez in right field.

While he has an exceptional arm for a first baseman, his outfield arm is far from spectacular. He missed the cutoff man on a few throws and was charged for an error.

He juggled a ball on Logan Morrison’s double and that subsequently allowed Giancarlo Stanton to score.

Mid 1st, 0-0: It’s been the story of the Red Sox’ recent stretch. They’ve gotten men aboard in scoring position, but haven’t capitalized.

After Scott Podsednik singled and Dustin Pedroia walked, Adrian Gonzalez struck out. David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia also flew out.

These next few games will really dictate where Gonzalez is because he went from swinging well to going 0-for-8 in the last two games.

5 p.m.: Here are the lineups.

Red Sox  
Scott Podsednik LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B 
Adrian Gonzalez RF
David Ortiz 1B 
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C  
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Ryan Sweeney CF 
Mike Aviles SS

Josh Beckett P

Marlins
Jose Reyes SS 
Donovan Solano 2B  
Hanley Ramirez 3B
Giancarlo Stanton RF
Logan Morrison LF  
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Chris Coghlan CF 
John Buck C

Josh Johnson P

8 a.m. ET: Josh Beckett is returning to face his former team in Miami, the club he led to a World Series championship in 2003. The pitcher will look to lead the Red Sox (29-31) out of their slump after dropping six of their last seven games. It’ll be Boston’s first trip to the Marlins’ (31-29) new stadium.

In his last appearance, Beckett performed well against the Orioles, limiting them to two runs through eight innings. He’s also gone at least seven innings in each of his last five starts, but merely has a 2-2 record to show for it during that span. Beckett will go up against Marlins ace Josh Johnson, who is coming off a strong start in which he yielded just two runs in 7 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts against the Braves.

For more details, follow NESN.com’s live blog. Tune into NESN’s pregame show at 6 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

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