Longoria helps Rays sweep away Marlins
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi finished his 2015 season in style and the Rays' offense got a kickstart from Evan Longoria en route to a 4-1 win over the Marlins on Thursday night at Tropicana Field.
Odorizzi held the Marlins to no earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings to finish the season at 9-9 with a 3.35 ERA.
"Great way for Odo to finish up his season," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He threw the ball really well. He really had it going early on."
Jose Fernandez started for the Marlins and surrendered two runs -- a solo home to Longoria in the first and an RBI single to Grady Sizemore in the third, and came away with a quality start despite surrendering a career-high 11 hits, but he took his first loss of the season.
"I have a lot of respect for their team," Fernandez said. "A lot of good young players, they're battling out there. They had some good at-bats. I was trying to make good pitches. They're big league players, they've got a lot of talent. They came out tough. But it was a pretty good game out there."
Longoria added an RBI double and scored a run in the Rays' two-run seventh that pushed the lead to 4-1.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Longoria goes deep: Every time Fernandez takes the mound, the assumption is that something special could happen. The Rays did not allow that from the beginning when the first two Rays batters of the game hit the ball hard before Longoria unloaded to left for his 21st home run of the season, staking the Rays to a 1-0 lead against the Marlins ace.
Fernandez finishes with a flurry: It wasn't a vintage performance for Fernandez, until his final frame. On a night he allowed a career-high 11 hits, Fernandez minimized damage, allowing two runs while striking out nine. In the third inning, the Miami ace worked out of a bases-loaded jam by getting James Loney to bounce into a double play. Fernandez's most impressive frame was his sixth and final inning. The right-hander retired the side in order on 11 pitches. The final two outs, he struck out Nick Franklin and John Jaso on three pitches each.
"Jose is a special guy," Miami manager Dan Jennings said. "He's in front of any rotation in baseball. The fact that he bounced back from Tommy John [surgery] and then had the little tendinitis in the shoulder, he finished strong. He finished healthy. He definitely met every expectation that we had." More >
Odorizzi flirts with no-no: Odorizzi did not allow the Marlins to get a base hit until Marcell Ozuna broke the spell by leading off the fifth with a single to right.
"Tried to get ahead with the fastball, kind of challenged them throughout pretty much the whole game and we kind of made adjustments as the game went on," Odorizzi said. "Used more off-speed the third time through, but other than that it was just attack." More >
Ichiro's milestone ends in out: Ichiro Suzuki reached yet another milestone, but this time, he wasn't able to fully enjoy it. With two outs in the seventh, Ichiro lined a single to center. J.T. Realmuto, attempting to score from second, was thrown out by Kevin Kiermaier. The out at the plate denied the Marlins a chance to tie the score at 2. The hit was the 2,935th of Ichiro's MLB career, which ties Barry Bonds for 35th all-time.
"Ichiro, it's been a treat to be his manager, and see the things he's been able to do," Jennings said. "And he's been able to produce. When you have a chance to be a teammate, or be a part of a guy like this, who has done what he's done, and accomplished what he's accomplished in the game. It's special. The impression he's made on his teammates, the way he goes about it. He's a first class individual, who is a very special talent, and special person."
"That ties the game. I don't fault [third-base coach] Lenny [Harris] at all. We're down a run, on the road. It's the seventh inning, you've got to be aggressive right there. J.T. is very unique in the fact he's a catcher who can run. Kiermaier had to make a perfect throw and he did. He made a great throw, and they got the out. It was an aggressive play on our part, it didn't work this time." -- Jennings, on the key play at the plate in the seventh inning.
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Fernandez allowed a career-high 11 hits. The Marlins ace entered the season never giving up more than eight hits in a start. His previous high was nine hits, which came in his last start -- on Sept. 25 at Miami in a win over the Braves.
Thursday night's game held historical significance as it was the first time a National League and an American League team played each other in a regular-season game in October. The Astros and D-backs will play a three-game series over the weekend to close out the Interleague schedule.
After the Rays tacked on two runs in the seventh inning, the Marlins challenged a safe call on Loney as he was lunging back to third after Kiermaier's single to left. Loney rounded third, but was held, and Miami shortstop Miguel Rojas snuck in from behind and received the throw, applying a quick tag on Loney. He was called safe, and after a review of two-minutes, 20-seconds, the ruling was the call stands.
Marlins: The Marlins final series opens on Friday at Citizens Bank Park, weather permitting. Miami has not had a rainout all season, but that could change with stormy conditions expected in the Northeast. For Friday's 7:05 p.m. ET start, Miami rookie Justin Nicolino (4-4, 4.16) takes the mound for the last time. The Phillies counter with veteran right-hander Aaron Harang (6-15, 4.86).
Rays: Erasmo Ramirez (11-6, 3.65) makes his final start of his first season with the Rays as the Blue Jays arrive to Tropicana Field. Ramirez has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 18 of his 26 starts this season, and one earned run or less in 13 of 26. He is 1-1 with a 5.82 ERA in six career appearances against the Blue Jays.
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