The Tampa Bay Rays will climb four games above .500 for the first time this season with a fourth consecutive win over the Miami Marlins, but Roberto Hernandez might not be the right pitcher to help them achieve that.
Hernandez looks to rebound from a pair of rough outings when the Citrus Series shifts to Miami on Wednesday night.
The Rays (27-24) have won three straight after taking the first two of this four-game set. They rallied from four runs down in a 7-6 victory Tuesday, with Desmond Jennings delivering the winning single with two outs in the ninth.
''It's so much fun to watch right now,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''Even when we were down early and their pitcher was pitching well, I just felt confident that we could come back.''
The Rays, winners of 11 of 12 against the Marlins (13-39), now go for a fifth straight victory in Miami. Tampa Bay, though, may need Hernandez (2-5, 5.73 ERA) to be much better after he gave up 10 runs in six total innings over his last two outings.
The right-hander pitched at least six innings in six of his first seven starts, but lasted only four in a 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday, giving up five runs.
"The body of work prior to that was pretty darn good and the last two have not been as good. The location of the pitches has not been there,'' manager Joe Maddon said after the latest outing. "I don't anticipate talking about Hernandez (being replaced as a starter).''
Hernandez isn't the only struggling member of the Rays rotation. The club's first two starters in this set, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Hellickson, allowed 11 total runs in 9 1-3 innings as the Marlins scored five or more in two straight games for the first time this season.
Chris Coghlan is 4 for 9 with a homer, triple, double and four RBIs in this series and rookie Marcell Ozuna has extending his major league-leading hitting streak to 13. That hasn't been enough for Miami to end its losing streak, which reached seven Tuesday.
Tampa Bay has scored 17 runs in this series and 25 in the past three games.
"We just couldn't get them out. If we continue to swing the bats like we did the last couple days, we're going to win some of these games," said manager Mike Redmond, whose team has dropped 17 of 20.
Tom Koehler (0-2, 3.18) will try help the Marlins open their five-game homestand on a positive note as he goes for his first major league win. He made his third straight solid start since moving out of the bullpen Friday, throwing six innings of three-run ball in a 4-3, 11-inning road loss to the Chicago White Sox.
The right-hander didn't anticipate any lingering effects after getting hit on the back of his right shoulder by a Jeff Keppinger liner.
"... it shouldn't be anything to worry about," Koehler said after avoiding a third consecutive losing start.
His bigger concern is a Rays team that's averaged 5.9 runs per game while winning 13 of 19.
Kelly Johnson has gone 6 for 10 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs in the first half of this series to help the Rays improve to 44-43 all-time against Miami.
Tampa Bay outscored the Marlins 22-7 in its last series in Miami from June 8-10.
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