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Citrus Series begins with a split in Miami

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The Rays stumbled in Detroit, dropping two of three in Motown following a four-game winning streak. On Monday, they made the final stop on their road trip in Miami to begin a four-game, home and home series with the Marlins. With an offense that was starting to click on every cylinder, the pitching staff would need to step up to the proverbial plate in some good ‘ol fashion interleague action as the Citrus Series got underway from South Beach.

GAME 1

Marlins 7  Rays 6

It was a homecoming for Rays super utility man, Taylor Motter, who got the start at shortstop on Monday night in Miami. He did not disappoint his friends and family in attendance, either. The Rays offense quickly jumped on Marlins starter, Wei-Yin Chen, in the first inning thanks to an RBI single by Steven Souza Jr (who’d have 3 hits in the game) and a bases loaded walk by Motter scoring Mikie Mahtook, who was getting his first start of the season. The Miami offense quickly answered back in the bottom of the inning off Matt Moore with three runs thanks to a Martin Prado double and a two-RBI single by Miguel Rojas. The Rays quickly tied things up in the top of the second when Brandon Guyer hit his fifth home run of the season into left field with one out in the inning off Chen. Marcell Ozuna would continue the chess match with a two-out, solo home run in the fourth off Moore, his ninth of the season. With the Marlins leading 4-3 heading into the fourth inning, Ichiro would step to the plate and deposit an RBI single into right field, extending the Miami lead. The 42-year old Ichiro would finish the game with a four hit night. It would remain a 5-3 ballgame into the sixth inning when Motter would step to the plate to lead off and deposit his second home run of the season over the wall in left center field to pull the Rays a run closer. Two outs later, former Marlin, Logan Morrison, came to the plate and tied things up with an RBI single into right. Motter would give his team the lead in the seventh with an RBI double in which he was gunned down trying to stretch it to third. The Rays held a 6-5 lead heading into the final innings before Erasmo Ramirez, who threw a very questionable 54 pitches into his third inning of work, left Enny Romero in a bit of a jam in the eighth inning. Pinch hitter, Cole Gillespie would hit the game-tying sacrifice fly into right field making it a 6-6 ballgame before Alex Colome would come in and give up what would become the game-winning RBI ground out to Prado.

W: Phelps (3-2)  L: Erasmo (6-2)  S: Ramos (14)

GAME 2

Rays 4  Marlins 3

Matt Moore may have had a rough night on the mound Monday in Miami but he did get his first career base hit. Jake Odorizzi got the start on Tuesday and followed suit. His, however, would be an RBI single with two outs in the second inning to kick off the scoring for the Rays and give them an early 1-0 lead over the Marlins. With runners on second and third and one out in the fourth, Hank Conger singled them both home to give the Rays a 3-0 cushion. Jake Odorizzi would pitch five shutout innings before giving way to Enny Romero in the sixth. For the 12th time in May, a Rays starter would pitch five innings or less. Romero would immediately struggle, giving up a lead off home run to Giancarlo Stanton and then a double to Ozuna. Derek Dietrich would single home Ozuna to pull Miami within a run. Cash would then bring in 30-year old rookie Tyler Sturdevant to get the final two outs of the sixth – and he’d do just that, striking out Hechaverria and getting Chris Johnson to ground out. Steve Pearce would get the Rays some insurance in the top of the seventh, driving in Brad Miller who had walked, stolen second, then wound up on third on an error throwing down to catch him. Hechavarria pulled Miami back to within a run in the bottom of the 8th with an RBI single off Alex Colome. However it would be Colome who would retire the Marlins in the bottom of the ninth in order to close out a victory for the Rays and split the two games in Miami.

W: Odorizzi (2-2)  L: Koehler (2-5)  S: Colome (12)

NEXT UP:

Both the Marlins and the Rays head to St. Pete to finish off the four-game, home and home Citrus Series.

PROBABLES:

5/25 – Matt Andriese (3-0, 2.11) v Justin Nicolino (2-2, 4.30)

5/26 – Drew Smyly (2-5, 3.54) v Jose Fernandez (6-2, 3.02)

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