Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/12/12

MIAMI -- After a slow start to the season, Clay Buchholz has found his groove.

Buchholz struck out a season-high nine batters in seven strong innings Tuesday, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins.

Since going 3-1 with a 9.09 ERA in his first six starts, Buchholz is 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA in his last seven.

"The ball is rolling right," Buchholz said of the difference. "I gave up a lot of infield hits, a lot of balls that just got through the infield early. It's that, and a little bit of confidence helps. The team is scoring runs behind me every time, and that makes you confident."

Kelly Shoppach and Mike Aviles each drove in runs in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie, helping the Red Sox snap a four-game losing streak.

"I just got a pitch to hit early in the count, a pitch I can handle, and it worked out to get in the gap," Shoppach said of his RBI double. "That was a huge spot that gave us a lot of confidence, especially the way Buchholz was throwing."

Buchholz (7-2) allowed one run, five hits and two walks. He threw 69 of 103 pitches for strikes.

"Clay was absolutely fantastic," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.

Logan Morrison led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run, cutting Miami's deficit to 2-1, but Buchholz retired the next three to end his outing.

Vicente Padilla pitched the eighth, allowing Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez to reach base on singles before striking out Giancarlo Stanton to end the inning.

"The way we were hitting, I think we have to take advantage of every opportunity we have, and we didn't do that," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Alfredo Aceves allowed a leadoff single to Morrison before polishing off the next three batters for his 15th save in 18 chances.

Marlins starter Mark Buehrle (5-7) allowed two runs in seven innings. He was looking to tie Kenny Rogers for the most consecutive wins in interleague play at 11.

In the pivotal seventh, Shoppach doubled to left-center field, scoring Will Middlebrooks. Aviles followed with a single to score Shoppach.

"A couple of bloop base hits, and that was kind of the game right there," Buehrle said. "That's the frustrating part."

The Marlins had a chance to score in the first inning when Jose Reyes led off with a triple down the right field line, but Buchholz struck out Infante, Ramirez and Stanton, leaving Reyes stranded at third.

Miami had another opportunity to score in the third after back-to-back, two-out singles by Reyes and Infante. Ramirez followed with a single up the middle to shortstop Aviles, whose throw to first was not in time to get Ramirez. Reyes attempted to score from second on the play, but he was easily thrown out at the plate, ending the inning.

"We had some opportunities," Reyes said, "but you have to give some credit to the starting pitcher for them. He made some good pitches when he needed to. He had good stuff."

Meanwhile, Buehrle allowed just one baserunner in the first four innings -- a two-out double to Shoppach in the third.

In the fifth, Buehrle issued a leadoff walk to Adrian Gonzalez, but the threat ended when Aviles grounded into an inning-ending double play.

NOTES: Marlins center fielder Emilio Bonifacio had the stitches removed from his left thumb, on which he had surgery May 25 to repair a torn tendon. Guillen hopes Bonifacio can return after the All-Star break. "That's a pretty sensitive spot. He's got to get it strong," Guillen said. ... Outfielder Marlon Byrd, designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Saturday, was released. Acquired April 21 from the Cubs for reliever Michael Bowden, Byrd batted .270 (27-for-100) with one homer and seven RBI in 34 games for Boston.

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