Rookie Josh Fleming and four relievers combined on a three-hitter, and Tampa Bay pitchers extended their streak of success at Marlins Park to 36 consecutive scoreless innings in the Rays’ 4-0 victory over Miami on Saturday.
Tampa Bay shut out the Marlins for the second night in a row, and also blanked them in both meetings in Miami last year.
Fleming (2-0) won for the second time in as many career starts. He allowed three baserunners and struck out six to help the Rays earn their fourth victory in a row.
“He was outstanding for us,” manager Kevin Cash said. “So efficient. He doesn’t pitch like a guy who has two starts under his belt at the big league level.”
Joey Wendle doubled twice and drove in two runs for the AL East leaders, who scored all of their runs with two out.
Tampa Bay’s latest pitching gem came shortly after left-hander Ryan Yarbrough went on the injured list with groin tightness. Eleven Rays pitchers have been sidelined by injuries since the start of summer camp.
“These wins are starting to feel like losses when you have guys going down,” Wendle said. “It’s tough to see. But it speaks to the depth of the organization and the guys we’ve been able to call up.”
Despite the depleted staff, the Rays (23-11) climbed a season-high 12 games above .500 and beat Miami for the seventh consecutive time dating to last year. The Rays have won 11 of their past 13 overall, and have won 11 of their past 12 road games after losing their first five in 2020.
Pablo Lopez (3-2) allowed two runs in seven innings for the Marlins (14-14). Tampa Bay scored the game’s first run in the sixth on Yandy Diaz’s RBI single, a four-hopper that traveled 75 feet, and Kevin Kiermaier’s run-scoring single in the seventh made it 2-0.
“I felt like it was the best Pablo has thrown,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “The Diaz chopper — just unfortunate.”
Wendle hit a two-run double in the eighth. All six Rays runs in the series have scored with two out.
“When our pitchers are throwing up 18 zeros in a row, that makes it a little bit easier,” Wendle said.
The Marlins struck out 11 times. In the first two games of the series, they’ve fanned 18 times while walking twice and totaling eight hits.
“We haven’t really had a lot of action,” Mattingly said. “Is this a short little cycle? Have they pitched good, do we give them credit? Whatever it is, we’ve got to try to get better, and quickly.”
Watch Josh Fleming, Joey Wendle and manager Kevin Cash discuss the Tampa Bay Rays’ shutout victory.
Marlins: RHP Robert Dugger, LHP Alex Vesia, and C Chad Wallach were reinstated from the injured list. They were sidelined during the team’s coronavirus outbreak last month. RHP Humberto Mejía was optioned to the team’s alternate training site, and RHP Brett Eibner, C Brian Navaretto, and LHP Josh D. Smith were designated for assignment. Miami has made 111 roster moves this season.
Marlins: 1B Jesus Aguilar (back) was out of the starting lineup for the second night in a row.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell (2-0, 3.04 ERA) starts on Sunday. He had season highs in innings (5 2/3), strikeouts (nine) and pitches (101) in his most recent start Monday against Toronto.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara (1-0, 1.35), sidelined by the team’s coronavirus outbreak, is expected to be activated to start Sunday. His only previous outing this year came on opening day when he went 6 2/3 innings to beat the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I was waiting too long to be back with my teammates,” Alcantara said.
Rookie Fleming, Rays hold Marlins to 3 hits, win 4-0