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Furious rally in 9th falls short after Eovaldi's gem

Righty strikes out 8 over 6 innings with scouts watching
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Representatives from the Indians, Yankees, Braves, Giants, Phillies and D-backs could be counted among the scouts in the stands, no doubt to get a look at Rays starter Nathan Eovaldi, who fits the bill as a quality starting pitcher that could be acquired before Major League Baseball's July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The right-hander did nothing to diminish his value, holding the Marlins to one run on six hits while striking out eight in six innings to earn a no-decision. After Eovaldi left, the game got out of hand before the Marlins defeated the Rays, 6-5, Friday night at Tropicana Field.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Representatives from the Indians, Yankees, Braves, Giants, Phillies and D-backs could be counted among the scouts in the stands, no doubt to get a look at Rays starter Nathan Eovaldi, who fits the bill as a quality starting pitcher that could be acquired before Major League Baseball's July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The right-hander did nothing to diminish his value, holding the Marlins to one run on six hits while striking out eight in six innings to earn a no-decision. After Eovaldi left, the game got out of hand before the Marlins defeated the Rays, 6-5, Friday night at Tropicana Field.

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"I felt fresh," Eovaldi said. "Kind of back and forth. I feel like I got away with a lot of pitches today. ... I'll definitely take that."

Eovaldi is aware of the trade rumors he's involved in, but he doesn't pay attention to the scouts at the ballpark.

"I have no idea where [the scouts] sit," Eovaldi said. "Even on the days when I'm not pitching, I'm not out there looking for the scouts or anything like that. The times I have tunnel-vision focus are usually my best days. I don't even notice the fans. I try to do that, and have that [mentality]."

Diego Castillo started the seventh for the Rays and walked two of the first three batters he faced before Hoby Milner entered the game to face Derek Dietrich, who had homered earlier in the game. He repeated this feat in the seventh when he rerouted a 79.3 mph curveball into the right-field stands for a 4-1 Marlins lead.

By the time the top of the seventh had run its course, the Rays had committed two errors and the Marlins had added two more runs on just two hits to take a five-run lead.

The Rays made things interesting with a four-run ninth fueled largely by Mallex Smith's bases-loaded triple, but Adam Conley struck out Daniel Robertson with the tying and go-ahead runs aboard to preserve the win.

Video: MIA@TB: Smith clears the bases with a 3-run triple

"You got to like the way we battled in the ninth there," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You know we looked like a team that had four days off up until the ninth inning. Other than [Eovaldi's] performance, there really wasn't much going. … Too little, too late, kind of."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
There weren't a lot of bright spots for the Rays early on, but Jaime Schultz managed to shine.

The rookie right-hander recorded his first Major League win on Saturday at Minnesota with a 2 2/3-inning stint in which he did not allow a hit. Friday night, he pitched the eighth and ninth innings without allowing a hit and striking out five of the six batters he faced. The effort kept the Marlins' lead at five runs, giving the Rays a chance to rally in the ninth.

Video: MIA@TB: Schultz K's Cooper to strike out the side

"[Schultz] got the ball over the plate," Cash said. "He used his breaking ball a little more. That's what he needs. He needs reps and pitches to get comfort on the mound, a big league mound -- big league baseball. It's erratic in there, but it's still a step in the right direction. We see how talented he is."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Justin Bour hit a ball to the right side of the infield to lead off the fourth. Eovaldi leaped to catch the ball, but missed. Meanwhile, Joey Wendle charged hard from second, making the grab and flipping the ball to first without taking the ball from his glove to nip Bour for the first out.

Video: Must C Crafty: Wendle's amazing glove flip

HE SAID IT
"I would have liked to go a little deeper into the ballgame. I was definitely pleased with my outing, but I need to do a better job of having quicker innings." -- Eovaldi

UP NEXT
Ryne Stanek gets the nod Saturday night when the Rays host the Marlins in a 6:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Since the beginning of June, Stanek is 0-1 with a 1.08 ERA and .140 opponents average. His average fastball velocity this season is 98.1 mph. Right-hander Pablo Lopez will start for the Marlins.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Nathan Eovaldi