Marlins 5, Rays 1

Josh Johnson had to work out of a few jams Sunday in pitching

five scoreless innings for the Miami Marlins in a 5-1 victory over

the Tampa Bay Rays.

”A little bit of everything,” Johnson said of his fifth start.

”Some good, some bad, some ugly, but I got my pitch count up and

got my adrenaline going that last inning, so it was good.”

Miami’s opening-day starter, Johnson allowed three hits, struck

out four and walked five. He threw 45 of 79 pitches for

strikes.

He walked Evan Longoria in the first, threw a wild pitch and

walked Carlos Pena, prompting catcher John Buck to head to the

mound.

”I knew he was a little out of whack,” Buck said. ”Every time

he was delivering the ball it looked a little different. I could

see a bunch of his chest, the spin of the ball would change.”

The next two innings were far smoother for Johnson, who hit an

RBI double to deep left-center in the second.

”Everything was on time. My tempo was a lot better. I was going

after guys, throwing quality pitches. That’s what I’ve been looking

for all spring, those two innings right there,” Johnson said.

Johnson encountered trouble in the fourth, giving up a leadoff

single to Longoria and loading the bases with walks to Pena and

Luke Scott. He induced Jose Molina to ground into an inning-ending,

6-4-3 double play.

Johnson escaped another jam in the fifth, with runners on second

and third and no out. He struck out Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce,

then retired Longoria on a flyout.

”You have to do whatever you can to get guys out,” Johnson

said. ”That’s one of those times you go for the strikeout.”

Marlins head athletic trainer Sean Cunningham and pitching coach

Randy St. Claire went out to check on Johnson in the fifth, but he

shook them off. They were concerned about a fingernail, which digs

into his skin when he throws his slider. Johnson said it’s just

something he deals with and has played through for a while.

”That’s normal for him from what I hear,” Marlins manager

Ozzie Guillen said. ”JJ threw the ball very well. I’m very happy

where he is at right now.”

Rays starter Wade Davis struggled in what could be his final bid

to make Tampa Bay’s rotation. Davis gave up four runs, seven hits

and three walks in 4 2-3 innings with two strikeouts. He threw 52

of 91 pitches for strikes as his ERA rose to 4.91.

It wasn’t an ideal outing for a pitcher competing with fellow

right-hander Jeff Niemann for a spot in the starting rotation.

”I would have loved to have done a lot better,” Davis said.

”The past couple of spring trainings I’ve had some rough springs.

I’ve definitely excelled better this year than I have in the past.

But at the same time you want to do better, and I’m definitely on a

better track of being ready for the season that I have been in the

past physically. My stuff’s sharper, I’ve added more weapons to my

repertoire and ultimately it’s not up to me.”

Rays manager Joe Maddon liked what he saw from Davis at the

start, when he struck out Hanley Ramirez after the speedy Emilio

Bonifacio tripled down the left-field line.

”I thought he started out great,” Maddon said. ”I really

liked the first inning a lot, and then after that it just, the

stuff just went away a little bit. Nothing wrong with him

physically, but I really liked the first inning a lot and I thought

we were going to see more of that, and then it seemed like after

home run it went back into that high-80 range. He still threw some

pretty good breaking balls but lost a little bit of his

fastball.”

Davis gave up homers to Buck and Bryan Peterson in the fourth,

which extended Miami’s lead to 4-0.

NOTES: Marlins LF Logan Morrison (knee), RF Giancarlo Stanton

(knee) and INF Greg Dobbs all hit in a minor league scrimmage in

Jupiter. Morrison and Stanton could play in the field in a minor

league game on Monday. … Rays LF Desmond Jennings (shoulder)

played left field and ran the bases in a minor league scrimmage.

… Rays SS Reid Brignac (foot) also played in the minor league

scrimmage. … The Rays reassigned C Craig Albernaz, OF Brad Coon,

1B Matt Mangini, RHP Jhonny Nunez and RHP Romulo Sanchez to their

minor league camp.