Juan Encarnacion had a two-run double and pinch-hitter Juan Pierre added two RBIs with a single during a seven-run sixth inning, and the Marlins completed a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with an 8-5 victory Sunday.
“You can’t be satisfied with two out of three—you could live with it, but when you’ve got a chance to sweep these (struggling) teams, you got to sweep them,” Pierre said. “I think that’s how the Atlanta Braves made a living all these years: teams they’re supposed to beat, they beat.”
Damion Easley also had two RBIs for the Marlins, who improved to 25-15— 17-6 at home—against their intrastate rival.
The Devil Rays, losers of nine of 11, finished their road trip 2-8, with eight of the 10 games decided by one or two runs.
“It doesn’t matter whether we have 10 hits or no hits, I’m trying to keep us in the ballgame as close as I can and give us a chance to win,” Moehler said. “And that’s what happened.”
Todd Jones worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
Florida sent 12 batters to the plate in the seven-run sixth. Devil Rays starter Casey Fossum (2-2), who held the Marlins hitless for four innings, was removed with two runners on and no outs in the inning.
Seth McClung relieved and gave up a single to Miguel Cabrera that fell between second baseman Jorge Cantu, first baseman Travis Lee and right fielder Alex Sanchez to load the bases. Cantu appeared to be settling under the ball, which faded to the fielder’s left and dropped.
“I’ve seen infield flies called on similar plays,” said Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella, who argued briefly with first base umpire Jim Reynolds. “His understanding was neither player (Cantu nor Lee) was camped under it. Regardless, it should have been caught.”
McClung then gave up Encarnacion’s ground-rule double, an RBI single to Easley and a walk while getting just one out.
“These guys are good, they’re not in first place for a fluke,” McClung said.
Fossum, who joined the rotation Tuesday after 11 relief appearances, was charged with three runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out five.
“My legs just went out toward the end,” Fossum said. “I just kept going as long as I could.”
After getting just one base runner through four innings—Alex Gonzalez’s third-inning walk—the Marlins tied the score 1-all in the fifth. Encarnacion led off with a walk and Mike Lowell followed with a double to left. Encarnacion scored on Easley’s sacrifice fly.
Tampa Bay went a head 2-1 in the sixth. Cantu led off with a double to deep center and scored when Charles Johnson hit into a double play.
Tampa Bay scored the first run in the third. Nick Green led off with a double to left, took third on Fossum’s sacrifice and scored on Crawford’s sacrifice fly.
Devil Rays RF Aubrey Huff was a late scratch due to a stiff neck. … Marlins manager Jack McKeon was ejected in the bottom of the fourth by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley. It was McKeon’s first ejection of the season. Bench coach Harry Dunlop took over for McKeon. … Tampa Bay is 3-18 on the road. … It was Florida’s first three-game sweep of the season. The Marlins swept a two-game series at Washington April 18-19. … Pierre extended his playing streak to 375 consecutive games.