I always thought it was called the Sunshine Series, but Friday night the analysts were calling the Marlins and Rays game the first of the Citrus Series. The name doesn’t matter, but the teams do. Last year, the Fish won the series 4-2. Mike Stanton hit his first career home run versus the Rays, a grand slam, and Chris Coghlan ended the Tampa career of Akinori Iwamura with a slide.
In a nice power ball and small ball mix, the Marlins came out victorious on Friday. Matt Joyce’s first inning triple gave the Rays a 2-0 lead, cut to 2-1 on a LoMo RBI in the first. In the last of the fourth, Logan Morrison collected his second RBI of the day with a solo jack. Mike Stanton added a homer of his own in the inning giving the Marlins a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Matt Joyce tripled for the second time of the game, the second of the season, and scored on Casey Kotchman’s single. The Marlins turned a double play to end the inning.
The game was 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth when hits by Hanley Ramirez and Morrison put runners on second and third. Gaby Sanchez launched a fly ball to right-center field, which was caught for a sacrifice fly. LoMo advanced to third on the throw home. After Greg Dobbs walked, Mike Stanton popped one up into shallow right field, caught by the first baseman Kotchman, whose back was to home plate. In heads-up base running, Morrison tagged at third and ran home after the catch. He scored to give the Fish a 5-3 lead.
Leo Nuñez converted on his 16th save opportunity of the year. He leads the league in saves, converting on all 16 of the year. Mike Stanton’s 10 home runs on the year are the team lead. In the midst of a hot streak, after starting the season cold, Stanton is on pace for about 37 this year.
Javy Vasquez toes the rubber tonight for Florida, as David Price goes for Tampa. Vasquez has allowed a first inning run in all of his starts this season. Personally, I believe the Marlins should call up Alex Sanabia to fill his role.