Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz extended his string of superb outings last week by outdueling the Miami Marlins' Mark Buehrle.
Buchholz will get the chance to try to pull off that feat again Tuesday night when Buehrle and the Marlins begin a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Buchholz (7-2, 5.38 ERA) is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his three starts this month and earned the latest of those victories last Tuesday in Miami. He allowed a solo homer to Logan Morrison and five hits in seven innings overall during a 2-1 victory.
"I thought Clay was absolutely fantastic," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told the team's website. "(He's) just throwing the ball as well as we've seen him throw the ball all year. He's really on a roll."
Buchholz also struck out a season-high nine while sending Buehrle (5-7, 3.41), who gave up two runs and five hits over seven innings, to his first defeat in 16 interleague starts.
"Buehrle pitched well enough to win once again," manager Ozzie Guillen told the team's website. "He pitched well, kept the team in the game."
The left-hander has received a combined four runs of support while going 0-3 with a 4.00 ERA in his three outings this month. He's allowed two runs in each of his last two outings along with a total of eight hits and two walks.
Buehrle might not get much more help in this game as Miami (33-33) has been woeful at the plate lately, batting .179 and producing 21 runs while losing 10 of 12. The Marlins were shut out in each of its two losses during a three-game series in Tampa Bay this weekend, totaling three hits in those defeats.
"As tough as it is to go through something like this, because we all know we're better, ballclubs go through that," said Greg Dobbs, who was the designated hitter in a 3-0 loss Sunday. "Just realize that it's not going to last forever. I think as a whole we need to just relax, trust that we can get it done and trust in the process of how to get it done."
The Red Sox (33-33), meanwhile, got back to .500 by winning two of three over the Chicago Cubs this weekend and finishing 4-2 on its six-game interleague trip. David Ortiz, 6 for 12 in his last four games, had a solo homer and an RBI single during a 7-4 win Sunday.
Ryan Kalish singled in the go-ahead run during his first major league game since Oct. 3, 2010, and Dustin Pedroia had a pair of hits while ending a 6-for-45 slump.
In Tuesday's game, the Red Sox might look for some help from Darnell McDonald, who is 7 for 13 (.538) in his career against Buehrle and Kelly Shoppach, 7 for 16 (.438) with three homers. Shoppach hit a pair of doubles off the Marlins left-hander last week, including one that drove in the first run of game.
Ortiz is batting .345 (20 for 58) with eight doubles and two homers against Buehrle, who is 0-2 with an 8.20 ERA over his last three visits to Fenway after going 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his first three.
The Marlins are appearing in Boston for the first time since dropping two of three there June 16-18, 2009.