Rays 3, Marlins 1

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


MIAMI -- Roberto Hernandez and Fernando Rodney combined to pitch a three-hitter as the Tampa Bay Rays won their fourth straight game, 3-1 over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday at Marlins Park.
The Marlins have lost eight in a row, including three straight to Tampa Bay (28-24). At 13-40, Miami has the worst record in the majors.
Hernandez pitched -- by far -- the best game of his season, walking none and striking out five in 8 2/3 innings. The only run he allowed was unearned. Hernandez (3-5) gave up a two-out single in the ninth to Placido Polanco and was removed for Rodney, the Rays' closer.
Rodney faced just one batter to get his 10th save of the season. Rookie Derek Dietrich hit a long drive to right field, but Matt Joyce ran it down in the corner for the final out.
From the middle of the first inning to the end of the eighth, Hernandez retired 22 of the 23 batters he faced, allowing just an infield single to Marcell Ozuna during that dominating stretch.
The hard-luck loser was Tom Koehler, who went eight innings and allowed seven hits, one walk and three runs. After allowing two runs in the first, Koehler (0-3) was nearly flawless.
The only run Koehler allowed after the first came in the seventh, when James Loney hit a one-out double to right, moved to third on Desmond Jennings' single to center and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Yunel Escobar.
Tampa Bay scored twice in an eventful first inning. Leadoff batter Ben Zobrist singled to left, and Joyce doubled to right to set up the middle of the order. Kelly Johnson hit a run-scoring single to right for the Rays' third straight hit. The Marlins limited the damage by getting Evan Longoria to ground into a double play that scored Joyce.
In the bottom of the first, Marlins leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan hustled his way to a run. He turned what could have been a long single to right-center into a double, diving into second. He then gambled again, taking third on a fly out to right. He scored when Joyce's throw from right field got past Longoria at third, with Joyce getting charged with an error.
NOTES: The Marlins promoted INF Ed Lucas, 31, who spent his first day in the majors after 10 years in the minors. Lucas, a former eighth-round pick of the Royals, went to Dartmouth and was the 2004 Ivy League Player of the Year. He played 925 games in the minors before finally getting his chance. ... To make room on the roster, the Marlins designated INF Nick Green for assignment. ... No team in baseball has scored more runs since April 17 than the Rays. Over that 38-game stretch, Tampa Bay also was second in the majors in batting average and third in on-base percentage. ... Marlins 1B Logan Morrison, who has yet to play in the majors this year as he battles back from a knee injury, is hitting .154 (4-for-26) with three RBIs through seven games on a minor league rehab stint. The Marlins are likely to keep Morrison in the minors until June 8. ... The game between the cross-state rivals drew just 16,671 fans.