ST. PETERSBURG -- Going with the percentages didn't matter to Derek Dietrich. It didn't matter if he was facing hard-throwing right-hander Nathan Eovaldi or lefty Hoby Milner, Dietrich still was able to find the right-field seats at Tropicana Field.Dietrich's second career multi-home run game accounted for four runs, and the
ST. PETERSBURG -- Going with the percentages didn't matter to Derek Dietrich. It didn't matter if he was facing hard-throwing right-hander Nathan Eovaldi or lefty Hoby Milner, Dietrich still was able to find the right-field seats at Tropicana Field.
Dietrich's second career multi-home run game accounted for four runs, and the Marlins opened their second half on Friday night with a wild 6-5 win over the Rays.
"I'm just happy to get it rolling here, and get a win coming out of the All-Star break," Dietrich said.
The other time Dietrich hit two home runs in a game came at Cincinnati on June 20, 2015. Dietrich was a second-round pick of the Rays in 2010, and before the '13 season, he was dealt to the Marlins for Yunel Escobar. Friday marked the first time that Dietrich homered in 16 career games against Tampa Bay.
"I think the first [homer] was huge, because it got us on the board," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Nate was throwing the ball really well. It seemed like he had us on our heels, overpowering us a little bit."
Miami needed all the support it could manufacture, because the Rays rallied for four runs in the ninth inning and had runners on first and second when the final out was recorded.
With closer Kyle Barraclough not available due to illness -- he was experiencing an upset stomach -- the Marlins barely protected a five-run lead in the ninth inning.
"[Barraclough] wasn't feeling good," Mattingly said. "I found out before the game, he was kind of sick to his stomach all day long. I think he came in to maybe get some medication, and we sent him back to the hotel. He wasn't a guy we could use tonight."
In the ninth, the Rays rallied off Javy Guerra, who committed a one-out error on Jesus Sucre's comebacker that loaded the bases. Drew Steckenrider surrendered a three-run triple to Mallex Smith and C.J. Cron lifted a sacrifice fly. After Adeiny Hechavarria's single, Adam Conley entered, yielding a single to Jake Bauers. But Conley -- with the count full -- struck out Daniel Robertson for his first career save.
Dietrich connected on a solo home run off Eovaldi in the third inning to tie the game. And in the seventh inning, when the Rays went with Milner, Dietrich pulled a 79.3 mph curveball for a three-run homer.
"With the lefty, you kind of know what you're going to get," Dietrich said. "Pick a spot, pick a pitch, and take a good rip at it."
Marlins right-hander Dan Straily allowed one run in seven innings, scattering four hits while walking three and striking out three.
Eovaldi allowed one run on six hits with eight strikeouts in six innings. The former Marlin came out bringing heat, striking out three in the first inning with a fastball that ranged from 97.5 mph to 99.4 mph.
Straily countered with a mixture of four pitches, changing speeds and spotting his fastball.
Tampa Bay struck quickly off Straily on Kevin Kiermaier's leadoff double in the first and Hechavarria's RBI single.
"First inning was a tough one," Dietrich said. "Eovaldi was throwing the ball by us. He has a good fastball, but we settled in and put some good at-bats out there."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Even after Dietrich's three-run home run in the seventh inning, the Rays' poor fielding allowed two more Miami runs.
Miami broke open a five-run lead in the seventh, tacking on some needed insurance on J.T. Realmuto's two-out double that ended up being booted for two errors on the same play.
Realmuto's drive to left was nearly a two-run homer, but it hit the wall. Brian Anderson, who was on first, raced to third, and on the relay, Hechavarria booted the ball to Robertson, who accidentally kicked it in the camera well. Both Anderson and Realmuto were awarded home.
"That was funky," Mattingly said of the double error. "That was a nice little couple of runs."
By holding on, the Marlins are now 12-12 in one-run games.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Dietrich's home run came on an 86.5 mph 2-2 Eovaldi slider in the third inning. Per Statcast™, the drive to right field projected at 387 feet with an exit velocity of 100.8 mph and a launch angle of 29 degrees.
Dietrich's homer in the seventh just barely cleared the fence, but it proved to be the biggest shot of the game. Statcast™ listed the drive to right off Milner at 358 feet with a 98 mph exit velocity.
HE SAID IT
"Changed the complexion of the inning. That's definitely on me tonight. I should be able to go in there and get that done. It's usually what I've done well. I'll get it done next time. Good job by everyone, picking us up, and get that big win." -- Guerra, on his error that extended the ninth inning
Marlins rookie Pablo Lopez will start at Tampa Bay at 6:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, 11 days after his last outing. Lopez has given up 10 runs over 11 innings in his last two starts, which included a loss and a no-decision. He has 14 strikeouts in 17 big league innings. The Rays will counter with Ryne Stanek.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.