Eric Sogard belts 2 of Rays’ 4 home runs in Citrus Series win over Marlins

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Newcomers Eric Sogard and Nick Anderson played key roles in Tampa Bay’s latest win.

Sogard homered twice and finished with a career-high five RBIs, and the surging Rays beat the Miami Marlins 8-6 on Saturday night.

“Sogard, what a day he had,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s been outstanding. Right now if he hits his pitch he’s doing some damage with it.”

Sogard is hitting .385 (5 for 13) in four games since he was acquired in a trade with Toronto on Sunday.

Willy Adames and Austin Meadows also connected as Tampa Bay won for the seventh time in eight games. Anderson (3-4), who came over in a trade with Miami on Wednesday, pitched a perfect eighth for the win, and Emilio Pagan finished for his ninth save.

“Nick Anderson is making quite an impression,” Cash said. “We just love the fact that he comes in and attacks. That’s not easy doing that against a group of guys that you were sharing lockers with five days ago.”

The Rays went ahead to stay on Adames’ leadoff drive against Jarlin Garcia (2-1) in the eighth. Travis d’Arnaud, who has 26 RBIs since July 1, made it 8-6 with a run-scoring single later in the inning.

Sogard hit a two-run shot in the second and a three-run drive off Elieser Hernández in the third. He has 12 homers this season, compared to 11 combined over his previous eight major league seasons.

“Joining these guys from day one I could tell was a lot of fun,” Sogard said.

Meadows went deep for the third straight game. Meadows’ solo drive in the seventh tied it at 6.

Starlin Castro homered for Miami, which has dropped three of four. Jon Berti had three hits and drove in a run.

“We don’t score like this a lot, but we’re in close games all the time,” manager Don Mattingly said. “One of the things we’re learning is figuring out how to get over that hump and win close games.”

The Marlins grabbed a 6-5 lead with two runs in the seventh. Berti singled in Cesar Puello, and Brian Anderson added a sacrifice fly.

Berti came within a homer of hitting for the cycle and stole two bases. He tripled in the ninth but was stranded when Anderson flied out to right.

Miami scored three times in the third. Castro hit a two-run shot, and the other run scored on a double-play sacrifice fly.

Garrett Cooper hit a fly ball that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier caught at the wall. Anderson tried to advance to third and originally was ruled safe. After the call was overturned by a replay review, Castro homered on Jalen Beeks‘ next pitch.

“The guy missed me on the tag but somehow they get an out out of that,” Anderson said. “Even the third baseman (Matt Duffy) told me he missed me on the tag so that one’s kind of an enigma. We couldn’t find any evidence that I was out there, but I guess MLB did.”

COLLISION

Kiermaier hit a fifth-inning grounder about 45 feet up the first-base line and ran into Neil Walker right after the first baseman fielded the ball. Walker, who held on for an out as they both crashed to the ground, departed after the sixth inning with a jammed right index finger.

“Knowing how hard (Kiermaier) runs, my sense of urgency was high, so it’s just unfortunate, the timing of when I got the ball and the movement that I made to get in front of him,” said Walker, who is day to day. “But it’s a baseball play.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas, who left Thursday’s game with right hip tightness, extended his hitting streak to 10 games with double leading off the first.

Rays: Reliever Jose Alvarado (right oblique strain) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Sunday with Class A Charlotte and could be back next weekend.

UP NEXT

Marlins left-hander Caleb Smith (7-4) and Rays right-hander Yonny Chirinos (8-5) are Sunday’s scheduled starters.