BOSTON – The first hit against Brayan Bello was a slow roller up the middle that barely reached the outfield. Red Sox shortstop Kiké Hernández dove and gloved it, but his off-balance, off-one-knee throw bounced harmlessly to first base.
The second hit came right after — still with nobody out in the eighth inning. And the third broke a scoreless tie and turned Bello's near no-hitter into a loss.
“Today wasn’t my day to have a complete game,” Bello said after pitching seven no-hit innings only to see the Marlins beat the Red Sox 2-0. “But it’s going to come soon.”
Bello allowed just two baserunners through seven: Jazz Chisholm reached on a fielding error by first baseman Justin Turner leading off the second and Jesús Sánchez walked to lead off the third. Bello retired major league batting leader Luis Arraez three times, including a line drive that Bello stabbed to end the third inning.
“That guy threw a really good game,” said Arraez, whose batting average dropped from .396 to .392. “He was really nasty today.”
But Jean Segura bounced an infield single up the middle to lead off the eighth for Miami's first hit, earning Bello some appreciative applause from the sold-out Fenway crowd. Joey Wendle followed with a clean single to right and manager Alex Cora came out to replace Bello, leading to a longer and louder cheer.
“There’s days you’re going to score runs. There’s days you’re going to give it up. And today we pitched well; we didn’t hit,” Cora said. “There was no hesitation for him to go in the eighth. There’s no hesitation for him to go deep into the game. He’s really good and he’s getting better.”
In all, Bello struck out five and walked one while throwing 99 pitches. He has allowed one run in three straight starts, and three or fewer runs in 12 in a row. He completed seven innings for the fourth time in seven starts.
“I think the balls just got through. ... It wasn’t like we were hitting it on a line,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “There was a lot of weak contact. Even the ground balls that got through were weak. Luckily for us, they got through and we started a rally.”
Bello, 24, was one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system before making his debut last season. He went 2-8 with a 4.71 ERA as a rookie and is 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA this season, striking out 67 batters in 73 innings.
“Bello’s got incredible stuff. I know he’s a young kid," Marlins starter Jesus Luzardo said. “I’ve never really seen him pitch, but I saw him pitch today and it was incredible. It was just awesome being a part of it. Kind of keeps you in the game as a pitcher.”
Bello's performance came a day after Yankees righty Domingo Germán threw the majors' first perfect game since 2012 and the only no-hitter so far this season. But it wasn't enough to stop a Red Sox skid in which they've lost five in a row to fall from the verge of the wild-card race back below .500 and in last place in the AL East.
“Everybody knows that we’re going through a tough stretch,” Bello said. “But we know that this is going to happen and we just need to turn the page and be ready for tomorrow.”