FORT MYERS -- Matt Flynn's first two outings this spring weren't exactly smooth.
He looked a lot better Tuesday against the reigning World Champions.
The 6-7, 240-pound left-hander tossed three scoreless innings, retiring the first eight batters he faced before third baseman Jonathan Herrera singled to left. Herrera never advanced, though, getting thrown out at second on a pinpoint throw by catcher Rob Brantly moments later.
For Flynn, acquired along with Brantly and Jacob Turner in a 2012 trade with the Tigers, it was the kind of day he was hoping to have once someone in the bullpen began reading him the Red Sox lineup. In his first two outings out of the bullpen this spring, Flynn got banged up by the Nationals (2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 HR in 2 IP) and Cardinals (3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks). Coming out as the starter Tuesday helped, Flynn said.
"It's the first time it's really felt good," said Flynn, who three 33 pitches, 22 for strikes.
"I threw a lot of fastballs, kind of worked downhill, got a rhythm going out of the windup. I was looking forward to [starting]. It definitely paid off today having that comfortable time, getting on the mound, coming out of the dugout. The routine was really comfortable. At the same time if I would have brought the same stuff from the last two outings to today it would have turned out just the same."
Flynn, a darkhorse candidate to win the fifth starter's job, said he's been focused on improving his mechanics. He said his arm had been dragging behind him in his previous appearances. That wasn't the case Tuesday.
"Today was good for me -- I could feel it," he said. "I just wanted to make them quick [innings], didn't want to be on the field for a long time. Whether they were three liners at someone's face, I just wanted to get smooth innings, get some rhythm going."
MARLINS RALLY PAST RED SOX
Leading 3-1 before most of the starters were pulled in the sixth, the Marlins rallied to beat the Red Sox 5-4 Wednesday thanks a two-run home run off the bat of Kyle Jensen in the ninth.
Boston plated two runs off reliever Marlins reliever Josh Spence in the seventh and took the lead in the eighth against Chaz Roe.
Jensen's towering home run to left came off Boston left-handed reliever Drake Britton.
And he absolutely drilled it. The line drive shot cleared the Green Monster in left field at jetBlue Park.
"It felt good to come into the game, see one pitch and close it out," Jensen said. "I was just looking for a pitch to drive. Saw it early."
Chris Hatcher retired the final three Red Sox hitters to pick up the save.