MIAMI, FL - JUNE 10: Pitcher James Shields #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Miami Marlins during the interleague game at Marlins Park on June 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The Rays took advantage of an early 4 run lead, a solid start by James Shields, and very effective relief pitching in defeating the Miami Marlins by a final score of 4-2 completing the sweep of their weekend series. James Shields improved his record to 7-4 by delivering 6.1 solid innings allowing 1R/1ER on 4 hits while striking out 5 and walking 3. The victory improves the Rays record to an AL best 35-25 and they remain in first place in the AL East.
The Rays jumped out to a 1-0 lead off Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez on a 1-out double off the bat of B.J. Upton to score Carlos Pena who had walked. The Rays extended their lead in the top of the 4th inning on two home runs. Matt Joyce led off the inning with his 11th homer of the year and Elliot Johnson followed with his fourth homer on the year a 2-run shot which put the Rays up 4-0.
Shields carried the shutout with him through 6 innings but ran into trouble in the 7th. Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez began the inning with back to back doubles to cut the Rays lead to 4-1 and Shields compounded matters by walking Chris Coghlan before striking out Brett Hayes but not before Hayes had battled him in a tough 10 pitch at-bat. After the battle with Hayes Joe Maddon came to the mound and replaced Shields with lefty Jake McGee to face the left handed pinch hitter Greg Dobbs who he retired on a fly out to left and then retired Jose Reyes on a ground out to end the inning.
Joel Peralta came in to work the eighth inning and retired the first two Marlins before giving up a single to Giancarlo Stanton. Logan Morrison followed with a single to score Stanton who had advanced on defensive indifference to cut the Rays lead to 4-2. The inning got a little more nerve wracking when Morrison advanced to second base on a wild pitch and Peralta had fallen behind 3-1 to Gabby Sanchez before coming back to strike him out to end the inning.
Fernando Rodney came in to work the ninth inning and like Peralta retired the first two batters before allowing a single to Donovan Solano. Rodney, unlike Peralta, would not allow the drama to build by getting Jose Reyes to chop one in front of home plate which Jose Lobaton pounced on and threw to first for the final out. It was Fernando Rodney's 18th save and league leading 27th game finished.