Baseball / Sports

Tampa Bay Rays players and coaches line up for a moment of silence honoring the team's senior baseball advisor, Don Zimmer, prior to the start of play against the Miami Marlins at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday, June 5, 2014. Zimmer, 83, died on Wednesday. (Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times/MCT)

Marlins throttle Rays to sweep four-game Citrus Series

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Much of the buzz surrounding the Miami Marlins Thursday was about their future. How good might a rotation of Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney and newly drafted Texas prep fireballer Tyler Kolek look someday?

Their present isn't looking bad either.

The Marlins regained their Sunshine State supremacy, completing a four-game home-and-home sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays 11-6 at Tropicana Field. Leading the season-high matching 17-hit barrage was a pair of newbies. J.T. Realmuto and Justin Bour made their major league debuts, getting the start behind the plate and at designated hitter, respectively. The tandem was a combined 4-for-9 with four RBI.

"You can't really ask for much better from my standpoint," Realmuto said. "It was nice to get out there and help the team win a ballgame."

Realmuto knocked in three runs with his two singles. The only other Marlin with at least three RBI in his major league debut was Jeremy Hermida, who on Aug. 31, 2005 hit a pinch-hit grand slam at Sun Life Stadium.

Hitting seventh and eighth, respectively, Bour and Realmuto got their first hits during the three-run Marlins' fourth. It was the first time two players registered their first major league hits in consecutive at-bats since Joe Inglett and Ryan Garko did it with the Indians on July 1, 2006.

"It was very cool, but that wasn't exactly how I thought it was going to happen," Bour said. "I never would have thought my first 1/8hit3/8 was going to be an infield single, but I'm not complaining at all."

Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones combined for seven hits. Marcell Ozuna homered as part of a 3-for-5, four-RBI effort and was one five different players to knock in at least one.

Jacob Turner was the beneficiary of the breakout offense, which featured Giancarlo Stanton's 17th homer run. The two-run blast was part of a three-run, five-hit seventh that gave the Marlins a 9-5 lead. Turner (5 1/3 innings) barely qualified for the win, his he got it. It was his first in 19 career road starts.

"It's kind of a fluky thing anyway, but it's obviously good to get the win," Turner said. "I'm definitely tired of hearing about that."

The Marlins extended their winning streak to four and the Rays' losing streak to 10. Stanton had gone a season-high five games without an RBI before driving Brad Boxberger's full count pitch into the left-field seats.

They Rays made it a 3-3 game before the Marlins re-took the lead in for good in the sixth against one of the hottest relievers in baseball. Jake McGee had retired 21 consecutive batters before Jones and Ozuna stroked back-to-back singles. Ozuna's base hit knocked in the first run and Realmuto accounted for two more with a liner to center.

Turner had another unsteady start, giving up five runs on eight hits. Two of those hits were fifth-inning solo homers from Kevin Kiermaier and Ben Zobrist that tied it. As well as opponents have hit Turner, he hasn't had issues keep the ball in the park.

The Marlins improved to 7-0 this season and 156-141 all-time against the American League. They've won 12 straight, leaving them two short of eclipsing the Yankees' (2003-'04) and Rays' (2004) interleague record.

"It's not easy sweeping a team and they put up a good fight," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "They kept finding a way to stay in the game but fortunately our offense just kept the pressure on."

(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus