The Tampa Bay Rays will climb four games above .500 for the first time this season with a fourth consecutive win over the Miami Marlins , but Roberto Hernandez might not be the right pitcher to help them achieve that.
Hernandez looks to rebound from a pair of rough outings when the Citrus Series shifts to Miami on Wednesday night.
The Rays (27-24) have won three straight after taking the first two of this four-game set. They rallied from four runs down in a 7-6 victory Tuesday, with Desmond Jennings delivering the winning single with two outs in the ninth."It's so much fun to watch right now," manager Joe Maddon said. "Even when we were down early and their pitcher was pitching well, I just felt confident that we could come back."
The Rays, winners of 11 of 12 against the Marlins (13-39), now go for a fifth straight victory in Miami. Tampa Bay, though, may need Hernandez (2-5, 5.73 ERA) to be much better after he gave up 10 runs in six total innings over his last two outings.
The right-hander pitched at least six innings in six of his first seven starts, but lasted only four in a 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday, giving up five runs."The body of work prior to that was pretty darn good and the last two have not been as good. The location of the pitches has not been there," manager Joe Maddon said after the latest outing. "I don't anticipate talking about Hernandez (being replaced as a starter)."
Hernandez isn't the only struggling member of the Rays rotation. The club's first two starters in this set, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Hellickson , allowed 11 total runs in 9 1-3 innings as the Marlins scored five or more in two straight games for the first time this season.
Chris Coghlan is 4 for 9 with a homer, triple, double and four RBIs in this series and rookie Marcell Ozuna has extending his major league-leading hitting streak to 13. That hasn't been enough for Miami to end its losing streak, which reached seven Tuesday.
Tampa Bay has scored 17 runs in this series and 25 in the past three games.
"We just couldn't get them out. If we continue to swing the bats like we did the last couple days, we're going to win some of these games," said manager Mike Redmond , whose team has dropped 17 of 20.
Tom Koehler (0-2, 3.18) will try help the Marlins open their five-game homestand on a positive note as he goes for his first major league win. He made his third straight solid start since moving out of the bullpen Friday, throwing six innings of three-run ball in a 4-3, 11-inning road loss to the Chicago White Sox.
The right-hander didn't anticipate any lingering effects after getting hit on the back of his right shoulder by a Jeff Keppinger liner.
"... it shouldn't be anything to worry about," Koehler said after avoiding a third consecutive losing start.
His bigger concern is a Rays team that's averaged 5.9 runs per game while winning 13 of 19.
Kelly Johnson has gone 6 for 10 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs in the first half of this series to help the Rays improve to 44-43 all-time against Miami.
Tampa Bay outscored the Marlins 22-7 in its last series in Miami from June 8-10.
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 15, 2013||David Price||Day-to-Day||Left tricep tightness|
|May 08, 2013||Brandon Gomes||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|May 04, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Left hand contusion|
|April 27, 2013||Jose Molina||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|April 25, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|May 27, 2013||Alex Sanabia||15-Day DL||Right groin discomfort|
|May 19, 2013||Matt Diaz||15-Day DL||Left knee bone contusion|
|May 08, 2013||Chris Valaika||15-Day DL||Fractured left wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Donovan Solano||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal muscle|
|April 30, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 29, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
MIAMI (AP) -- Roberto Hernandez looked like a completely different pitcher in this start.
Hernandez bounced back from two rough outings and went 8 2-3 innings, leading the Tampa Bay Rays over Miami 3-1 Wednesday night and sending the Marlins to their season-worst eighth straight loss.
"Primarily he had a nice rhythm, a nice tempo, and I thought he kept getting better all night long," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar each drove in a run as the Rays won their fourth in row. Tampa Ray has taken 12 of its last 13 against the Marlins and improved to an AL-best 8-1 in interleague play this year.
The teams played in just 2 hours, 13 minutes.
Hernandez (3-5) allowed a combined 10 runs in six innings during his previous two starts against Baltimore and the New York Yankees . But he limited Miami to just one unearned run and three hits, striking out five.
"Everybody knows my last two times were very, very bad and when they gave me the ball tonight, I didn't think, I tried to throw a good game," Hernandez said.
Chris Coghlan hit a leadoff double in the Miami first and later scored on a throwing error by right fielder Matt Joyce . After Coghlan's hit, Hernandez retired 26 of the next 27 batters, including 15 in a row at one point.
"A really calm Roberto," Rays catcher Jose Molina said. "He was not as hyper as other outings."
Placido Polanco singled with two outs in the ninth, prompting Maddon to lift Hernandez in favor of Fernando Rodney .
"His pitch count was good, but it was still nine times out there and he was sweating pretty good," Maddon said.
The Rays' closer got Derek Dietrich to fly out to earn his 10th save in 15 opportunities.
"I think all emotional benefits were met tonight," Maddon said. "I think 8 2-3 and getting a win benefits Roberto and I think the emotional benefit of a one-out save helps Fernando a bit. That was part of my overall thinking at that point. Both guys could benefit if this thing works out."
Tom Koehler (0-3) gave up three runs and seven hits in eight innings.
"It's always tough when you give up a couple runs in the first," Koehler said. "One run is a little easier. The first run is never the one that's going to going to beat you because you got to score to win. That one never beats you. But when you give up that second run, it puts your team in a hole and every at-bat becomes a battle for them from the beginning and that can't happen."
The Marlins have dropped 15 of their last 17.
"Just another game like we've seen before where we couldn't get anything going offensively," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "... It seems they had 15 guys out there tonight."
The Rays started quickly. Ben Zobrist began the game with a single, Joyce doubled and Johnson hit an RBI single. Evan Longoria grounded into a double play, scoring Joyce.
Escobar added an insurance run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly that drove in James Loney , who doubled and advanced on a single by Desmond Jennings .
Marlins rookie Marcell Ozuna singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active string in the majors.
NOTES: Hernandez's last complete game was Sept. 10, 2010, against Minnesota while he was with Cleveland and known as Fausto Carmona. ... Ozuna's streak if the third-longest in club history among rookies. Edgar Renteria had a 22-game hitting streak in 1996. ... Miami 31-year-old INF Ed Lucas earned his first big league callup after 10 years in the minors, but did not see action in the game. In a corresponding move, INF Nick Green was designated for assignment. ... Maddon announced that RHP Alex Colome will make his major league debut and start Thursday pushing LHP Matt Moore back to Friday as Friday's scheduled starter RHP Alex Cobb has a finger laceration on his throwing hand. The Marlins will send RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 3.65 ERA) to the mound against Colome.