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Unlikely offense recharges Rays in win

May 24, 2016

MIAMI -- Logan Morrison remained hot against his former club, as the left-handed-hitting first baseman had three hits, a walk and scored twice on Tuesday afternoon in Tampa Bay's 4-3 win over Miami at Marlins Park.Morrison made his Major League debut with the Florida Marlins in 2010 and spent four

MIAMI -- Logan Morrison remained hot against his former club, as the left-handed-hitting first baseman had three hits, a walk and scored twice on Tuesday afternoon in Tampa Bay's 4-3 win over Miami at Marlins Park.
Morrison made his Major League debut with the Florida Marlins in 2010 and spent four seasons with the club. He came into the game ninth in the American League with a .436 on-base percentage for May (minimum 50 plate appearances) after a .156 April -- last in the league. Over the past 13 games, Morrison has reached base 23 times in 42 plate appearances, and he has 12 walks in 17 games.
"I was pressing early," Morrison said. "Now I'm just staying within myself -- consistent swing, consistent approach, good pitches to hit."

Hank Conger added a two-run single in the fourth, while right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who struck out seven in five innings, chipped in at the plate with an RBI single in the second -- his first big league hit in his ninth at-bat.

"Conger hit a mistake right there, an 0-2 pitch," Marlins starter Tom Koehler said. "You can't catch that much of the plate, 0-2. I left the pitch up, and the pitcher smacked it into right field. You've got to do a better job there."
After the Rays scored three times off Koehler, the Marlins chipped their way back into the game. Giancarlo Stanton blasted a solo home run in the sixth, and Marcell Ozuna added two doubles and a walk. Ozuna has reached safely in 31 straight games, the longest such streak in the Majors this year.

Better late than never: It was a good sign for Odorizzi to get through the second inning without giving up a run. Fourteen of his 21 earned runs allowed have come within those first two innings. Coming into the game, he had a 1.99 ERA after the second inning (seven earned runs in 32 2/3 innings pitched). The Rays' starter threw five innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits -- one in each of the first two innings. He walked three and struck out seven.

"The way I felt after five innings, regardless of the pitch count, I felt like my stuff didn't drop off from pitch 1 to 107," Odorizzi said. "So if I needed to, I could have gone back out." More >
Stanton reconnects, connects: The home run drought lasted 27 at-bats for Stanton, whose homer off Enny Romero in the sixth inning put Miami on the board. The blistered drive to left was his first since May 15 at Washington, when he also went deep in the sixth. Statcast™ projected Stanton's smash traveled 407 feet, with an exit velocity of 109 mph. Stanton has been working through a tough slide. He snapped out of an 0-for-19 slump on Sunday, and he's had a hit in each of the past three games.
"It felt good. I've felt decent the last few days," Stanton said. "Just not enough to win. That's what really matters." More >
MLB debut: Tyler Sturdevant made his Major League debut on Tuesday. The 30-year-old righty came on in relief to put out a sixth-inning fire. With two runs in and the tying run on first, Sturdevant, who spent parts of seven seasons in the Minors, recorded a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning and preserve the Rays' one-run lead.

"That was pretty awesome in not the ideal situation for a debut," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. "But, man, he came in there, was very calm, attacked, threw strikes, threw competitive pitches and got two huge outs for us." More >
Koehler struggles with command: For the third straight start, Koehler issued five walks. On Tuesday, a one-out free pass to Morrison in the fourth inning came back to hurt him. Morrison scored on Conger's two-run single that put the Rays ahead by three runs. The walks helped drive up the right-hander's pitch count, and he was out of the game after five innings and 102 pitches.

"It's awful. That's unacceptable," Koehler said. "Now, it's the third time in a row. The defense ends up being on their heels. The offense gets a little sluggish when you're out there for those long half-innings. It's tough to come in and want to get something going.
"It's unacceptable and something we're looking at to see if we're just missing on pitches or if there is just something in the delivery. There are certain times when walks are OK, but not that many."
"It's been an issue for us all year. It's one of the things you start to look at to see where your club is. Early on, you're not looking at stats too much, just because there is not enough information there. We're 45 games in now, and we're not too good on the walk thing. So it's an area we've got to improve on." -- Marlins manager Don Mattingly, after his club walked seven total, with two of those scoring
Ichiro Suzuki's 10-for-13 stretch over three games (Saturday to Monday) established some MLB history. According to Elias, Ichiro became the first player age 42 or older in MLB's "Modern Era" -- since 1900 -- to collect 10 hits over a three-game span since Hall of Famer Cap Anson did it in August 1894. Anson, then 42, also had 10 hits.
The Rays challenged a call on the field that Brad Miller was picked off second base in the third inning. Replay revealed that the tag did indeed beat Miller back to the bag, and after a one-minute, 28-second delay, the call on the field stood.

The Marlins picked up a key overturn in the ninth inning to keep it a one-run game. Miami challenged a safe call on Brandon Guyer, who was going from first to third on Miller's single to right. Stanton made a strong throw to Martin Prado, and the call was safe. But after a review of one minute and 44 seconds, the call was overturned.

Rays: After visiting Marlins Park for two games, the Citrus Series shifts to Tropicana Field on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Righty Matt Andriese looks to continue his impressive start to the 2016 season. He takes the mound with a 3-0 record to go along with a 2.11 ERA.
Marlins: Justin Nicolino is 2-2 with a 4.30 ERA in five starts. This will be his first career start against the Rays.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to based in Miami.