The Marlins entered their Saturday night intra-state matchup against the Rays (27-12) needing a victory to get back to .500 on the season. They had their work cut out for them against Tampa Bay, who had defeated the Marlins in all four prior 2020 matchups.
Harold Ramirez, who started the season one-for-seven before getting sidelined with the coronavirus, made his return to the starting lineup. After going one-for-three with a run and an RBI, Ramirez appeared to blow out his hamstring trying to leg out a single in the fifth inning. More details on that here.
In tonight’s matchup at Tropicana Field, the second of a three game series, right-hander Sandy Alcantara made his third start of the year. Over six innings, he racked up a total of eight strikeouts, getting 64-of-101 over the plate. He also walked three and allowed three hits, along with a lone earned run.
The Marlins struck first, scoring a four spot in the fourth inning. Jesus Aguilar opened things up with a walk, then moved to third on Brian Anderson’s fifth double of the season. Lewis Brinson then struck out, but Rays catcher Michael Perez couldn’t corral strike three and everyone moved up a base. That includes Aguilar, who opened the scoring. Ramirez followed with a single to score Anderson, then Corey Dickerson went deep for the sixth time this season to make it 4-0.
In the next frame, Aguilar again scored on a Brinson plate appearance, this time a single. The Rays got their first run of the contest on a Perez double to score Yoshi Tsutsugo, making it 5-1.
Later on, in the seventh inning, Matt Joyce added two runs to the Marlins lead with a single into left field. Richard Bleier relieved Alcantara in the bottom of the frame, keeping the Rays off the board despite allowing a hit.
Brandon Liebrandt came in to get the final six outs, and he collected his first five outs without incident. He then walked Hunter Renfroe and Tsutsogo. After a Randy Arozarena single and a Perez double got the Rays within four runs, Brandon Kintzler came in for the final out, an 0-1 grounder straight to Aguilar for his ninth save.
The Marlins outhit the Rays, eight-to-six. the only Miami player to finish with more than one hit was Brinson, who has pushed his average to .245 by going nine for his last 24. The Marlins victory gives them a 17-17 mark for the season, and according to FanGraphs, their playoff odds increased to 25 percent. Of the 15 teams in the National League, the Marlins are estimated as the 12th best bet to make the postseason at this point, ahead of only the Pittsburgh Pirates (0.2 percent), the defending Major League Champion Washington Nationals (2.6 percent), and the Arizona Diamondbacks (3.4 percent).
Look for the Marlins to try and take the Rays series with the final game, starting tomorrow at 1:10 PM EDT. Lefty Trevor Rogers (1-0, 2.00) will make his third career start opposite right-hander Tyler Glasnow (2-1, 4.24).