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Rays 5, Marlins 4: A Citrus Series Sweep

A first inning outburst propelled the Rays to their second win in a row and a citrus series sweep.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A 5-run first inning was all the Rays would need on Wednesday night to earn their second win in a row and a sweep of the Marlins. Drew Rasmussen earned his 5th win in 6 starts, and Wander Franco found his way back into the hit column with a pair of doubles and a run batted in.

Yet again, Drew Rasmussen turned in another impressive start striking out 7 Marlins batters over 5 innings. The only blemish was the fourth inning. A leadoff homer from Jorge Soler started the inning and a 2 run double from Jacob Stallings would account for the rest of the Marlins scoring. Along with his 7 punch-outs, Rasmussen walked a pair.

Prior to his start on Tuesday, Rasmussen had been on quite the tear. Since April 27th, the Rays had gone 5-0 across his last 5 starts, while Rasmussen had gone 4-0. Across 26.2 innings, he pitched to an ERA of 1.01. Across those 5 starts, opposing hitters were only hitting .160 off of the righty.

His 3 earned runs against the Marlins are the most he has surrendered since April 15th, when he gave up 3 runs to the White Sox. Nevertheless, Rasmussen again provided the Rays 5 innings of quality pitching and a chance to win. Now, in his last 6 starts, the Rays have gone 6-0.

Right-hander Cody Poteet got the start for the Marlins and was abruptly met with a 5 run barrage by the Rays offense in the 1st inning.

Kevin Kiermaier started the inning with a leadoff walk and Wander Franco quickly followed with an RBI double. After issuing a full count walk to Yandy Diaz and then striking out Ji-Man Choi, Poteet surrendered a two-run double down the third base line to Randy Arozarena.

The very next pitch was smashed 432 feet by Harold Ramirez to give the Rays a 5-0 lead.

Luckily, that was all the Rays would need from an offensive standpoint, because the next seven innings at the plate would be fruitless.

After the Marlins scored 3 in the 4th, the game turned into a battle of the bullpens and the score would remain 5-3 until the top of the ninth.

Then... things got very interesting... like previous series in Baltimore interesting... not fun.

Colin Poche got the call to lock down the save and quickly surrendered a leadoff infield single to Brian Anderson. Then, Jacob Stallings popped out to Yandy Diaz at first base.

With one out and a man on first, the chaos began.

Pinch hitter Bryan De La Cruz would reach on a throwing error by Taylor Walls. As the ball went out of play, the Marlins runners advanced to second and third with only 1 out.

Next up was Miguel Rojas who would reach on yet another throwing error, this time coming from Wander Franco. Anderson would score... 5-4, Rays.

Poche was able to get Willians Astudillo to pop up to Margot in shallow right field, shallow enough to prevent the tying run from scoring. But he then walked Garret Cooper to load the bases.

Thankfully, Colin Poche struck out Jesus Aguilar to end the game and leave the bases loaded on a pitch up above the zone, to high for Aguilar to foul off and protect.

Overall, there were some good signs for the Rays as Manuel Margot returned to the Rays lineup after missing some time with a hamstring issue, and Wander Franco collected a pair of hits. Furthermore, Harold Ramirez homered for the second time in as many days. Let’s not dwell on the ninth and enjoy what went right as the Yankees come to town for a four game series next.