The Miami Marlins looked like they might be buried early against David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays. Price gave up a run in the first inning, but the Rays came back in a hurry against Tom Koehler in the bottom of the frame. Koehler walked David DeJesus to lead things off, then allowed back-to-back homers from Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria as part of a very long inning that ended up "only" costing the Fish three runs and put them down 3-1 early.
Surprisingly, the Rays' score held for a long time despite Koehler's early struggles. Koehler finished the game with four strikeouts and four walks but only three runs allowed and six hits. It kept Miami in the game and later on allowed them to hold a slim lead.
The slim lead came because of a series of unfortunate circumstances for the Rays against the Fish. Miami got aboard on back-to-back singles by Ed Lucas and Giancarlo Stanton, and a wild pitch gave the Fish runners on second and third with one out. Marcell Ozuna hit a sharp grounder right to Price, who caught Lucas in a rundown between third and home. Lucas's wherewithal got Ozuna to second base safely before recording an out. This was followed by a high chopper to Longoria at third. He opted to tag out Ozuna coming to third base, but on the slide, the ball popped loose and an error was charged, allowing a run to score.
On the very next pitch, the not-often-used Donovan Solano launched a three-run homer for his first round-tripper of the season and Miami took a 5-3 lead. Price finished the game with just one earned run allowed and 11 strikeouts versus one walk, but the home run was a killer that gave away the lead.
That held quietly until the ninth inning. After uneventful frames by newly acquired reliever Bryan Morris and Mike Dunn, a pair of unfortunate circumstances almost doomed Steve Cishek and the Marlins. Ed Lucas dropped a chopper to third base, allowing a runner on board. Another chopper by Kevin Kiermaier went just over the head of Garrett Jones at first, going for a double. Jose Molina walked to load the bases and a third chopper by DeJesus scored the first runner, making it 5-4.
Zobrist then hit another chopper, this time a high one to first base that could have scored Kiermaier at third. Instead, Jones gloved it and Kiermaier hesitated and returned to third base while the Marlins recorded the second out. Two batters later, Cishek locked up a difficult, ugly save and the Marlins pulled out their third straight victory versus the Rays, ensuring a Citrus Series win in 2014.
Hero of the Game: Donovan Solano (0.260 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Marcell Ozuna (-0.099 WPA)
Play of the Game: Donovan Solano homered in the third inning. Marcell Ozuna and Jeff Baker scored. (+0.327 WPA)