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Karns heeds Cash's words, delivers strong outing vs. Marlins

Right-hander allows one earned run, strikes out six over seven innings Sunday

MIAMI -- Nathan Karns "bowed up" early on Sunday, giving the Rays a quality start in his second outing of the season.

Karns allowed six runs in the first two innings against Baltimore on Tuesday, prompting Rays manager Kevin Cash to tell the right-hander to bow up, or the equivalent of, "we need you to go deeper into the game."

Karns did so after his manager's message, not allowing another run or hit over his final 3 2/3 innings against the Orioles. Cash did not need to deliver his message again on Sunday.

Karns held the Marlins scoreless for three innings before allowing an unearned run in the fourth inning of Sunday's 8-5 victory. The Marlins reached him for a run in the fifth when Dee Gordon tripled home a run. That would be all they could muster against Karns.

"He got ahead," Cash said. "The curve ball was really good, as good as it got in the last game. It was good from pitch one. They took some aggressive swings off of him early and I think that gave him some confidence that these guys were looking to hit his fastball. Allowed him to work his curveball a little more."

Karns noted that he tried to bite off more of the plate with his pitches than he did in his first start.

"I think I got caught the first inning or two innings of the last game trying to nibble too much," Karns said. "I kind of fell behind. I was just trying to get the heart of the plate. Get a couple of strikes early. Stay ahead in the count and work from there."

He pitched through the seventh, allowed one earned run on two hits and two walks while striking out six en route to his first win of the season. Given the fact the bullpen is currently running on fumes, having Karns go seven worked out well for the team. He threw 106 pitches on the day.

"My pitch count was starting to get up there and they asked me if I was good enough to go out there," Karns said. "I felt fine, so I went out there and kept trying to plug away and get the hitters out. So until they took the ball out of my hands, that was my approach."

Karns had just logged the second win of his Major League career, but he wanted to talk more about the Rays' offense than his pitching.

"It was really fun to sit there and see our offense work the whole game," Karns said. "[David] DeJesus had a huge play for me then following it up with the big three-run homer. It was just awesome in the dugout, everybody was up, it was just a fun game."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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