With Alex Colome set to make his major league debut for the Tampa Bay Rays against the lowly Miami Marlins , Matt Moore will have to wait a day to attempt to become the majors' first nine-game winner.
Facing the worst offensive team in the major leagues, Colome appears to have a decent chance at immediate success Thursday night when the Rays look to continue their dominance in the Citrus Series.
Roberto Hernandez helped Tampa Bay (28-24) improve to an AL-best 8-1 in interleague games, allowing no earned runs over 8 2-3 innings in a 3-1 win at Miami (13-40) on Wednesday.
The Rays, who moved a season-high four games above .500 with their fourth straight victory, have outscored the Marlins 77-30 while winning 12 of the last 13 meetings.
The 23-year-old Moore, who is the youngest to win his first eight decisions since 22-year-old Babe Ruth did it in 1917, was originally scheduled to start as Tampa Bay tries for the four-game season series sweep.
After Wednesday's win, however, manager Joe Maddon announced the left-hander would be pushed back a day with Friday's scheduled starter Alex Cobb unavailable due to a finger laceration on his throwing hand.
That means Colome will get the opportunity to make an impression at the big-league level after going 4-5 with a 2.60 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Durham.
The 24-year-old right-hander had 61 strikeouts and walked 22 in 55 1-3 innings for the Bulls.
"My cutter is really good this year," Colome told the team's official website. "(Joel) Peralta help me in Spring Training, he pushed me to throw my changeup. Now my changeup is really good. I can throw for strike, strikeout, whatever. … I feel better. I feel more comfortable."
Colome may be able to continue that success against a Miami offense that ranks last in the major leagues with a .221 batting average, 145 runs and 27 homers. The Marlins managed only three hits Wednesday in their season-high eighth straight loss."Just another game like we've seen before where we couldn't get anything going offensively," manager Mike Redmond said.
Scheduled Miami starter Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 3.65 ERA) has been hurt by the lack of offense, recording only one win despite allowing one run over seven or more innings in three of his last four starts.
The right-hander gave up one run and eight hits in 7 2-3 innings before leaving without a decision in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
"I'm just trying to execute," Nolasco said. "Just trying to make pitches and go deep into the game."
Since winning his first two starts against the Rays, Nolasco has gone 0-4 with a 12.33 ERA in the last four. He's 1-2 with an 8.79 ERA in three home starts versus Tampa Bay, yielding six homers.
Yunel Escobar is hitting .429 with five RBIs over his last four games and is 10 for 27 (.370) lifetime in this matchup.
Chris Coghlan has been a bright spot lately for Miami, going 8 for 20 with four extra-base hits over his last five games.
Rookie teammate Marcell Ozuna singled in the fourth inning Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active run in the majors.
|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) -- Alex Colome became the latest homegrown Tampa Bay Rays pitcher to make an impression.
Matt Joyce and James Loney homered to support Colome in his major league debut Thursday night and helped send the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-2 victory over the Miami Marlins , who lost their ninth straight.
Colome (1-0) allowed an unearned run and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven as the Rays won their fifth straight.
Tampa Bay has used a homegrown starting pitcher - a pitcher it drafted or signed internationally by the Rays - for 363 of the last 380 games dating back to Oct. 1, 2010.
Colome, 24, is the nephew of former Rays reliever Jesus Colome . He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 and Wednesday became the first product of the Rays' Dominican academy to reach the majors.
"I've waited a long time for this, and I feel very happy," Colome said.
Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save in 16 opportunities.
Ricky Nolasco (3-6) gave up three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked four and struck out five. The Marlins have dropped 16 of 18.
Ben Zobrist had a two-run double off Mike Dunn in the ninth to build a 5-2 Tampa Bay lead.
The Rays went ahead 3-1 in the seventh when Loney led off with his fifth homer.
Joyce `s two-run homer in the sixth gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. It was Joyce's ninth homer and followed a one-out walk to Zobrist.
The Marlins scored a run in the first on Jose Molina 's passed ball with the bases loaded. Colome escaped further damage by retiring Greg Dobbs on a groundout for the final out with runners on second and third.
"I was most impressed with his ability to stay calm throughout the whole thing, but his stuff is a little bit overwhelming. It's really good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Ahead 1-0 in the fifth, Miami put runners in first and third with one out. Colome then got Placido Polanco to hit into an inning-ending double play.
"It saved my life," he said of the double play.
Miami scored an unearned run in the eighth, after Loney's error on Dobbs' grounder loaded the bases with two outs. Josh Lueke walked pinch-hitter Miguel Olivo to force home Polanco, then struck out Rob Brantly to end the inning.
Miami's 31-year-old infielder Ed Lucas made his major league debut when he entered to play shortstop to begin the ninth. Lucas spent nearly 10 years in the minors.
"It was pretty amazing," Lucas said. "It was especially exciting because it was a critical part of the game for a while. But it was a dream come true."
Tampa Bay improved to 9-1 in interleague play, while the Marlins fell to 1-8.
Miami rookie Marcell Ozuna singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.
NOTES: Miami was expected to announce after the game RHP Jacob Turner would be called up from Triple-A New Orleans to start Friday night's game against RHP Shaun Marcum (0-5, 5.77) and the New York Mets . ... Rays LHP Matt Moore (8-0, 2.21) will oppose Cleveland Indians RHP Corey Kluber (3-3, 4.57) on Friday night. ... Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton (strained hamstring) will back off his rehab due to sore knees, manager Mike Redmond said. ... Rays manager Joe Maddon said RHP Alex Cobb (cut on middle finger) would start Tuesday if, "he says he he's well." The Rays were expected to make a postgame roster move before announcing a starter for Saturday. RHP Jeremy Hellickson will start Sunday. ... Maddon was asked how important next week's draft was for the team. "Our version of free agency," he said.