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Odorizzi ends his season on a high note

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi ended his season on a high note Thursday night with a quality start en route to his ninth win of the season as the Rays defeated the Marlins, 4-1, at Tropicana Field.

"It's nice to go out on a good note," Odorizzi said. "I'll probably be a lot happier the next couple of days than I would have if I had given up those runs to end the game."

The Rays right-hander did not allow an earned run in seven innings to finish 2015 at 9-9 with a 3.35 ERA.

Odorizzi plowed through the Marlins' lineup in the early going, holding the Rays in-state rivals hitless through the first four innings.

"I threw a lot of fastballs," Odorizzi said. "Tried to get ahead with the fastball. Challenged them pretty much throughout the whole game. And we kind of made adjustments as the game went along, used more off-speed the third time through. Even that, it was attack. If we give up a hit, oh well, but we're going to try and get early outs."

Marcell Ozuna ended the no-hit suspense when he singled to open the Marlins' fifth, but he did nothing to quiet Odorizzi's excellence.

"He attacked," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I think his last start in Toronto, he wasn't quite in attack mode. Today it was very much a, 'here it is hit it,' approach. You know, his stuff definitely plays when he's throwing it over the plate."

Odorizzi's final out came via an outfield assist from Kevin Kiermaier, who threw out J.T. Realmuto at the plate to end the Marlins' seventh and finish Odorizzi's season.

"It's a good way to go out," Odorizzi said. "K.K. came in and saved the day like he usually does and it's a good way to end the season. You've got that good Mid-Western love from me to him."

Video: [email protected]: Statcast™ measures Kiermaier's 100.4 MPH throw

Odorizzi went seven innings for the 15th time in 28 starts this season after doing it only eight times in 2014. His 3.35 ERA came in 78 points better than 2014 and he improved his ERA at Tropicana Field to 2.79 ERA.

Since returning from the disabled list with a left oblique strain, Odorizzi posted a 4-4 mark with a 4.41 ERA in 15 starts after ranking fifth in the American League with a 2.47 ERA at the time of his injury.

"A lot of ups and downs," said Odorizzi when asked for his takeaway from the season. "Had an injury, then coming back and finishing on a strong note was really good. I feel like my stuff has been really good for the past month and a half. The results haven't been, but from a personal standpoint, I feel really good about the body of work I put together this year considering [I] missed a month of time."

Cash called Odorizzi's season "very solid."

"He's probably been as consistent as any starter we've had," Cash said. "Unfortunately the injury there. It hurt us. It hurt him. It took him a couple of starts to get back feeling good again. But it's nice the way he finished and obviously something he can build off of and continue next year."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for Listen to his podcast.
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