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Loretta brings home Cora to lift Red Sox past Marlins

MIAMI (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox may not want interleague play to
end.

Mark Loretta's eighth-inning sacrifice fly brought Alex Cora
home with the go-ahead run Sunday, and David Ortiz hit his third
homer in two days to help the Red Sox beat the Florida Marlins 4-3
in the teams' interleague finale.

Boston went 16-2 against the National League this season, tying
the highest victory total in interleague history; Oakland won that
many in 2002 and Minnesota did it this year, finishing its run off
with an 8-0 win Sunday over Milwaukee.

"Hopefully, it just means that we're playing good baseball and
we can beat whoever we play," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Varitek all hit solo homers for
the Red Sox (50-29), who took two of three against the Marlins
(35-43) and moved a season-high 21 games over .500.

Youkilis' home run led off the game and Varitek's led off the
second inning for Boston. Ortiz added his 26th homer in the third,
one day after his two-homer, four-RBI effort helped Boston win
Saturday.

"It's cool coming down, seeing your people, have people get to
see you play," Ortiz said. "We don't get down here a lot."

Jonathan Papelbon pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 25th save in 27
chances. He came in with two outs and the bases empty in the eighth
to face Miguel Cabrera, who tied the game with a solo homer in the
seventh -- and got Florida's best hitter to ground out to shortstop.

"That was the first time I had seen him," Cabrera said. "I
knew he had a good sinker. On 3-1, he threw the sinker, and he beat
me."

Former top Boston prospect Hanley Ramirez had two hits,
including a leadoff home run for the Marlins, who tied a
season-high by stranding 13 runners. Boston left only two on base.

Miguel Olivo had a run-scoring single in the fifth for Florida,
cutting Boston's cushion to 3-2 by bringing home Cabrera -- who
reached three batters earlier on an infield hit. Cabrera tied it
with his 13th homer of the year, but the Marlins left the bases
loaded for the second time in the game.

"Pitchers are paid to make pitches and hitters are paid to
drive in runs," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "They did a
little better job than we did today."

Cora reached to lead off the eighth when Marlins second baseman
Dan Uggla couldn't cleanly field his grounder, and the Red Sox took
advantage. Cora went to third on Gabe Kapler's sharp single, and
scored two batters later on the flyball by Loretta -- whose 13-game
hitting streak ended.

Mike Timlin (4-0), who got out of Florida's bases-loaded
situation in the seventh, got the win with one shutout inning.
Randy Messenger (1-4) took the loss after allowing Cora's unearned
run.

"I just had a tough play," Uggla said. "That was a weird
ball. It was in between hops. If I had caught it clean, I would
have made the play."

Marlins starter Josh Johnson allowed only four hits -- the three
solo homers and a first-inning single to Manny Ramirez -- in seven
innings, the last four of which were hitless. He walked four and
struck out five. Johnson came in having allowed three homers all
year, then saw that total double in the first 2 2/3 innings.

"He got his rhythm after the third and figured it out,"
Girardi said.

Red Sox rookie Jon Lester saw his bid at winning a fourth
straight start end when Cabrera homered off Julian Tavarez; Lester
allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings, leaving with a 3-2
lead.

Lester walked Johnson on four pitches in the second, getting
himself into a bases-loaded, no-out jam. He got Hanley Ramirez to
fly out to short right, keeping Joe Borchard at third base. Uggla
popped out to third for the second out, and Cabrera flied out to
center to end the inning.

"He finds a way to limit the damage," Francona said. "Which,
for a young kid, I think is especially exciting."

In the seventh, the Marlins loaded the bases again, this time
with one out. Timlin escaped, though, getting pinch-hitters Jeremy
Hermida and Mike Jacobs to pop out and end the threat.

"You've got to make your own breaks," Youkilis said. "We put
ourselves in a bind a couple times, but we battled out of it. If it
was easy every day, there'd be a team that wins 140 games a
year."

Game notes
It was the first time in exactly one year that a game
featured two leadoff home runs. Orlando Palmeiro and Felipe Lopez
did it for Houston and Cincinnati on July 2, 2005. ... Hanley
Ramirez's leadoff homer was his first in 150 at-bats in his home
park. ... The Red Sox made two more errors, giving them four in two
games -- after their major league-record 17-game run of perfect
defense ended Saturday. ... All but one of Varitek's eight homers
have come on the road. ... Ortiz, who made only his seventh start
at first base, was charged with an error in the third inning when
he dropped a popup near the Marlins' dugout.