Only five hits for the Sox in this one, but three of them were solo home runs: Youkilis (leading off the game), Varitek (leading off the 2nd) and Ortiz (with two outs in the 3rd). The other two hits were singles: Manny in the 1st and Kapler in the 8th.
Lester battled through five innings (5-7-2-3-3, 99). Tavarez pitched a solid sixth, but Tito had to bring him back for another inning. He should have quite while he was ahead after the scoreless frame. Sure enough, just like clockwork, Miguel Cabrera bashed a solo home run to tie the game at 3-3. After a walk, Timlin came in. An error and another walk gave the Marlins a bases-loaded, one out situation. But Timlin got out of it, with two infield pop-ups.
Boston took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 8th and Delcarmen was in for the home half. He retired the first two hitters on seven pitches, then Papelbon was brought in to face Cabrera. He got him on a 3-1 grounder to short and then closed it out in the 9th.
I wish Tito had gone with Delcarmen, Timlin and Papelbon for the final three innings instead of pushing his luck with Tavarez. Pulling MDC and bringing in Pap for Cabrera was obvious, perhaps, but an excellent move. Even then, it sounded like Papelbon was pitching around him . Maybe Francona didn't trust MDC enough to not make a mistake in that situation, but I thought bringing him in after Timlin rather than earlier in the game was a sign of growing confidence.
Also: Toronto lost this afternoon, so they fall 5 back. ... Let's go, Mets!
Winners of the "Be Dan Shaughnessy" contest!
Kevin Youkilis is back at the top of the lineup and playing third base, as Mike Lowell starts the day on the bench. Coco Crisp is batting 7th. Alex Cora is at shortstop, hitting 8th.
Jon Lester (2.95) / Josh Johnson (2.20), 1 PM
Lester held the Mets to two runs and four hits over five innings on Tuesday. ... Johnson picked up his third straight win in his last start against the Devil Rays. He has a 2.09 ERA in his last three starts.
Doug Mirabelli, on ending the team's 17-game errorless streak: "We set a record? I didn't know that. And I ended it? Sweet. Got to be remembered for something." (Coco Crisp also said he didn't know about the record: "I knew we'd gone some games without making an error, but I didn't know what the record was. I thought it would be a lot higher than that."
Boston leads both New York and Toronto by 4 games.