Riddle showed up on Wednesday and did a whole lot more than just grind it out between the lines. He led the way on offense with a 3-for-4 performance, including a go-ahead RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth and a solo home run in the eighth in the Marlins' 3-0 victory over the Rays in the rubber match of the Citrus Series at Marlins Park.
Riddle finished a double shy of the cycle, with two RBIs and two runs scored. The home run was his fifth of the season. His three-hit afternoon marked his fourth multi-hit ballgame during the Marlins' 10-game homestand, during which he has hit .351 (13-for-37).
"I've just been staying with the same approach and trusting it," Riddle said. "Don't miss heaters -- that's been the thing lately. Try to get in good counts and don't swing at balls out of the zone and don't miss fastballs that are in the zone."
Starter Jose Urena dazzled in his return from the disabled list, tossing five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and two walks (one intentional) while striking out six on 78 pitches (46 strikes). Right-hander Drew Rucinski got the win, allowing just one hit and striking out two in two innings of relief.
"Obviously, it feels like a good win," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It was one of those days, walking into it, that your bullpen is pretty much shot, and you're looking for a good outing from Jose. It really couldn't have went any better, as far as who we have available. Basically you saw everybody we had available. We were four guys in the pen."
Urena, who was activated from the 10-day disabled list before the game, felt good in his first appearance since June 20.
"It feels better than how it was," Urena said. "I need to keep doing the things in my treatment and I'll keep getting better."
With one out in the sixth, Starlin Castro ripped a base hit to left field off Rays reliever Ryan Weber. Riddle stepped in and wasted no time, launching a first-pitch sinker deep into center. Gold Glover Kevin Kiermaier was unable to haul it in before it smacked against the base of the wall, allowing Castro to scamper around and score. According to Statcast™, the go-ahead triple traveled 403 feet and left Riddle's bat at 100.7 mph.
J.B. Shuck followed up with a slow roller to second base and Riddle, breaking for home, was just able to slide past the tag of Jesus Sucre.
"I'm not going to lie -- it's tough," Riddle said. "You play 16 innings like that and you come around eight hours later having to play again, the body doesn't feel the greatest, but it's part of the job. You gotta come in, you gotta play hard and you gotta grind it out, one pitch at a time and one play at a time. We did that today, together as a team and luckily, it's another series win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED After a Joey Wendle base hit with one out in the seventh, the Rays were poised to finally crack the score column. Carlos Gomez got under a 3-2 cutter from Rucinski, blooping it into shallow right field. Brian Anderson went into a slide, snagging the ball before it hit the grass, and quickly rose to his feet, throwing behind the runner and doubling Wendle off at first base. Anderson's sliding grab and double play ended the inning and sucked the life out of the Rays' offense, keeping Tampa Bay from establishing any sort of late rally that could've helped them come back.
SOUND SMART According to Statcast™, Riddle's sky-high home run to right in the eighth frame had an astounding launch angle of 40 degrees. Riddle turned on the 3-1, 91.2-mph Hunter Wood fastball, sending it 352 feet with an exit velocity of 98.8 mph. Interestingly enough, the home run had a hit probability of just 16 percent.
HE SAID IT "It's been fun, from the standpoint of gaining identity. I think we understand now that we're not going to go out and put up seven, eight runs a night. A lot different from last year's club as far as the long ball. I think we understand we need to be a little better at the small things of the game -- everything on defense is important to us, because we can't give up extra runs or extra outs, so trying to put everything together as far as who we are [is important]. But I think our identity has become clear to our players as far as what we need to do to win games." -- Mattingly, on the Marlins' recent performance and identity
UP NEXT Right-hander Pablo Lopez makes his second big league start on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park. Lopez impressed in his debut on Saturday against the Mets, pitching six innings and allowing just two runs to earn his first victory. Jeremy Hellickson will start for Washington.