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(Friday, June 8th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Miami 1
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Without star third baseman Evan Longoria for another couple of weeks, the Tampa Bay Rays were in the midst of a major power outage.
Nullified of a home run since last Friday, Matt Joyce helped the Rays break out of their power slump with a solo homer among his two hits and Tampa Bay downed the Miami Marlins, 5-1, in the opener of the three-game Citrus Series.
Batting third, Joyce's homer was the first one for Tampa Bay from the 3-or-4 hole in the batting lineup since May 19. He also scored three runs for Tampa Bay, which had lost six of nine coming in.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson wobbled through 4 1/3 innings, surrendering a run on a career-high seven walks and five hits.
The Tampa Bay bullpen, however, was lights out the rest of the way. The quartet of Burke Badenhop (1-1), Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney allowed just two hits and one walk over the final 5 2/3 innings.
The ineptitude of the Miami Marlins offense with runners in scoring position continued Friday night. Greg Dobbs' sacrifice fly in the third frame accounted for the lone Marlins run.
Losers of four in a row, Miami has gone a woeful 0-for-21 with runners in scoring position over its last two contests and 2-for-23 during the skid.
"If you really want to compete, we have got to get better with people on base," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We have good at-bats and put ourselves in a good position to get something going, then when we have the people on the bases we're not doing the job we should be doing."
Ricky Nolasco (6-4) battled through six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks.
The teams exchanged runs in the third frame as B.J. Upton slapped an RBI single for Tampa Bay while Dobbs' sac-fly knotted the contest in the home half.
The Rays then responded by plating a run each in the fourth and fifth frames and two more in the seventh.
In the fourth, Jose Lobaton smacked a leadoff double and scampered to third two batters later on Hellickson's sacrifice bunt. He crossed home on Will Rhymes' infield single to make it a 2-1 game.
Joyce belted a solo shot to right, stretching the margin to 3-1 in the fifth, while Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena ripped RBI singles in the seventh to push the advantage to 5-1.
"We really kind of had to battle and grind out some at-bats, and I thought we did a great job," said Joyce.
Miami has been outscored 26-4 during its losing streak...The Rays are 18-17 since Longoria has been out...Miami still leads the all-time series 42-38...Nolasco began the year 4-0 through his first six starts, but is just 2-4 since.
06/09 01:33:12 ET