Roberto Hernandez dominant as Rays hand Marlins loss

MIAMI (AP) — Roberto Hernandez looked like a completely different pitcher in this start.

Hernandez bounced back from two rough
outings and went 8 2-3 innings, leading the Tampa Bay Rays over Miami
3-1 Wednesday night and sending the Marlins to their season-worst eighth
straight loss.

“Primarily he had a nice rhythm, a nice
tempo, and I thought he kept getting better all night long,” Rays
manager Joe Maddon said.

Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar each
drove in a run as the Rays won their fourth in row. Tampa Ray has taken
12 of its last 13 against the Marlins and improved to an AL-best 8-1 in
interleague play this year.

The teams played in just 2 hours, 13 minutes.

Hernandez (3-5) allowed a combined 10
runs in six innings during his previous two starts against Baltimore and
the New York Yankees. But he limited Miami to just one unearned run and
three hits, striking out five.

“Everybody knows my last two times were
very, very bad and when they gave me the ball tonight, I didn’t think, I
tried to throw a good game,” Hernandez said.

Chris Coghlan hit a leadoff double in
the Miami first and later scored on a throwing error by right fielder
Matt Joyce. After Coghlan’s hit, Hernandez retired 26 of the next 27
batters, including 15 in a row at one point.

“A really calm Roberto,” Rays catcher Jose Molina said. “He was not as hyper as other outings.”

Placido Polanco singled with two outs in the ninth, prompting Maddon to lift Hernandez in favor of Fernando Rodney.

“His pitch count was good, but it was still nine times out there and he was sweating pretty good,” Maddon said.

The Rays’ closer got Derek Dietrich to fly out to earn his 10th save in 15 opportunities.

“I think all emotional benefits were
met tonight,” Maddon said. “I think 8 2-3 and getting a win benefits
Roberto and I think the emotional benefit of a one-out save helps
Fernando a bit. That was part of my overall thinking at that point. Both
guys could benefit if this thing works out.”

Tom Koehler (0-3) gave up three runs and seven hits in eight innings.

“It’s always tough when you give up a
couple runs in the first,” Koehler said. “One run is a little easier.
The first run is never the one that’s going to going to beat you because
you got to score to win. That one never beats you. But when you give up
that second run, it puts your team in a hole and every at-bat becomes a
battle for them from the beginning and that can’t happen.”

The Marlins have dropped 15 of their last 17.

“Just another game like we’ve seen
before where we couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Marlins
manager Mike Redmond said. “… It seems they had 15 guys out there

The Rays started quickly. Ben Zobrist
began the game with a single, Joyce doubled and Johnson hit an RBI
single. Evan Longoria grounded into a double play, scoring Joyce.

Escobar added an insurance run in the
seventh with a sacrifice fly that drove in James Loney, who doubled and
advanced on a single by Desmond Jennings.

Marlins rookie Marcell Ozuna singled in
the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active
string in the majors. 

NOTES: Hernandez’s last complete game was Sept. 10, 2010, against Minnesota while he was with Cleveland and known as Fausto Carmona. … Ozuna’s streak if the third-longest in club history among rookies. Edgar Renteria had a 22-game hitting streak in 1996. … The Rays recalled RHP Alex Colome from Triple-A Durham and optioned RHP Jake Odorizzi. … Miami 31-year-old INF Ed Lucas earned his first big league callup after 10 years in the minors, but did not see action in the game. In a corresponding move, INF Nick Green was designated for assignment. … Tampa Bay LHP Matt Moore (8-0, 2.21 ERA) takes the mound against Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 3.65 ERA) on Thursday in the final game between the two clubs this season.