Monday night's affair wasn't exactly pretty to watch at times, but each team battled in the eventual 7-6 win for the Miami Marlins against the Tampa Bay Rays in the 100th edition of the Citrus Series.
In a game that had four lead changes and three ties, the Fish had to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to seal the victory.
Starter Wei-Yin Chen was a bit shaky in the first, giving up two runs, including a bases-loaded walk to Taylor Motter.
The Fish offense answered right back in the bottom half of the frame as a Martin Prado RBI double and a two-run bloop single from Miguel Rojas pulled the home team up 3-2.
A Brandon Guyer solo shot in the second frame knotted the game at three, giving all spectators every inclination that this game was certainly going to go back and forth all night.
The in-state rivals did not let them down.
In the third, still knotted 3-3, Marcell Ozuna crushed an absolute no-doubter off of starter Matt Moore, giving the Marlins a 4-3 cushion. Ozuna curled a ball around the foul pole, leaving the only question if it would stay fair or spin foul.
Ichiro Suzuki improved on his hot-hitting of late as he contributed his second four-hit game in the last three games. One of those hits was a two-out, RBI single in the fourth, doubling the Fish's lead to two.
The Rays' rookie Motter, called up for his debut last week from the minors, made his presence known once again in the sixth as he led off the inning with a solo home run to center.
A few batters later, former Marlin Logan Morrison tied the game up once again with an RBI hit to center on the most controversial at-bat of the game. Morrison took a strike called down in strike zone, arguing with home plate umpire Lance Barksdale. He then appeared to strike out on a 2-2 offering, but third base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled it a checked swing.
He made the most out of the second opportunity as he laced a line drive into center, scoring Guyer from second.
In the seventh, Motter hurt the Marlins again with a run-scoring double to left. More importantly for the Fish, he was thrown out trying to take third on the play.
That play would prove crucial in the next inning as the Marlins put up the winning runs on a Cole Gillespie sac fly and an RBI groundout by Prado.
Prado's game-winner was a soft tapper back to the mound, which reliever Alex Colome could not corral in his glove. Running on contact, this bobble allowed Adeiny Hechavarria to score from third with ease.
Closer A.J. Ramos took care of the rest. He recorded three outs in the relatively quiet ninth for his 14th save in as many attempts.
All-in-all, the win was a balanced attack for the Fish. The Marlins needed contributions from everyone to get the victory, as all positions players reached base in the contest. Chris Johnson was the only starter not to register a hit, but got on via a walk.
Noteworthy stats would have to go to Ichiro and Giancarlo Stanton. The veteran lefty out of Japan registered yet another four-hit game in his career. He is 12 for his last 21 and 10-for-13 in his last three starts, hitting .417 on the year. He is now just 40 hits away from joining the 3,000-hit club (2,960).
Stanton, on the other hand, is still slumping more than maybe anyone else in the league. With that being said, he registered a hard-hit, line-drive single to left in the fifth and worked a nine-pitch walk in the seventh. These are both signs that he may be seeing the ball better.