The battle for Florida baseball supremacy resumed on Wednesday night in Tampa as the Marlins looked to bounce back after being swept in a two game set in Miami by the Rays. The Marlins did just that with a comeback win against the Rays while bashing 17 hits in a 10-5 victory at Tropicana Field.
The night would commence as a battle of two very similar left handed starters in Tampa’s Blake Snell and the Marlins’ Adam Conley. Unfortunately, Snell has had a much better season thus far, entering the game with an ERA of 3.42 compared to Conley’s 6.86.
Early on, it was the Marlins defense, which had been leading the majors in defensive efficiency, which let Conley down; an error by Marcell Ozuna in the bottom of the second inning allowed Brad Miller to reach base. Miller was then driven in by a ground-rule double by Rickie Weeks, Jr. down the left field line. After an infield hit and a walk loaded the bases, a line drive single by Kevin Kiermaier drove in two more runs to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, the Fish hit the comeback trail when Marcell Ozuna hit the second longest shot in the history of Tropicana Field; a 468 foot moonshot which hit off the Rays 2011 division pennant flag above the second deck in left field.
That eye-popping blast would be the precursor to a double by Adeiny Hechavarria which would score Miguel Rojas to pull the Fish within one.
The Rays answered back in the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot to center field by Daniel Robertson, his second of the year, to give the Rays a 4-2 cushion.
Snell would be replaced on the mound to start the sixth inning by Austin Pruitt. The Marlins clearly liked this change as they greeted Pruitt with seven hits in a decisive five-run inning.
The inning was started off with six straight singles, including a two-RBI line drive by J.T. Realmuto to tie the game at 4-4, followed by an RBI grounder up the middle by Christian Yelich give the Marlins the lead, 5-4. Then, a 113 mph line drive to center by Giancarlo Stanton one-hopped the wall to plate two more runs to extend the Marlins lead to 7-4.
In the bottom of the sixth, two straight one-out walks by Conley led to Don Mattingly giving him the hook in favor of rookie left-hander and Marlins #4 prospect Jarlin Garcia. Light hitting Peter Bourjos singled to left to add a two-out run for the Rays. Garcia got out of the inning as the Fish still led 7-5.
In the seventh, the Rays debuted the flame-throwing Venezuelan Jose Alvarado who they had promoted from the minors earlier that day. After two infield hits and a ground out, J.T. Realmuto smashed a 99 mph pitch over the right fielder’s glove to score two more with a triple. He would then score on a sacrifice fly by Martin Prado to score the Marlins third and final run of the inning to extend their lead to 10-5.
The game was handed over to the Marlins bullpen who shutdown the Rays the rest of the way. Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and Nick Wittgren combined to throw the last 3 innings while giving up only one run to hold onto the victory, 10-6.
Adam Conley was only charged with two earned runs, as he went five innings for the win (2-2).
The Marlins (12-14) play the Rays (14-15) again tomorrow night at 7:10. Dan Straily (1-2, 4.15) goes for the Marlins against Matt Andriese (1-1. 3.86)
- Adeiny Hechavarria had his second 3 hit game since returning from the DL
- Ichiro had what was initially an infield single that was overturned after replay in what has to be described as a crime! How can replay calls be so obviously wrong? Just saying.
- Powered by his triple, J.T. Realmuto had a 4 RBI night.
- Miguel Rojas went 4-5 with 3 runs scored.
Kingfish: J.T. Realmuto with a triple and four RBI
Flounder: Austin Pruitt who got the loss in relief for the Rays
Turning Point: Austin Pruitt enters the game to start the sixth inning for the Rays.