Nolasco looks good for Marlins vs. Rays

Ricky Nolasco had a solid outing and the Florida Marlins scored

four runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-5 on

Saturday.

Nolasco scattered four hits over four innings, striking out four

and yielding one run to drop his spring ERA to 2.57.

Marlins catcher Ronny Paulino went 2 for 3 with an RBI single

off of Rays starter Matt Garza in the third inning. Brett Carroll

connected for a home run off of Garza in the fifth inning.

B.J. Upton went 3 for 3 with his first two homers of the spring.

His first homer was an opposite field shot off Nolasco in the

fourth inning and he added a two-run homer to the opposite field in

the sixth inning off of Andrew Miller.

“That is what got me here,” Upton said of the opposite field

homers. “To hit the ball that way with authority feels good.”

“It’s too bad they didn’t mean anything because it’s spring

training,” Upton added. “But to swing well was the key and

overall I felt pretty good.”

Former All-Star Hank Blalock made his spring debut for the Rays

batting eighth as the designated hitter. He finished 0 for 3 with a

walk and had a potential extra-base hit taken from him on a diving

catch by Marlins left fielder Chris Coghlan.

Paulino and Jorge Cantu each had extra-base hits for the Marlins

and backup infielder Brian Barden continued his strong spring with

a three-run double off of Grant Balfour as part of a four-run

seventh inning for Florida.

The Rays loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth thanks to

three walks from Marlins reliever Derrick Turnbow, but Sean

Rodriguez flied out to end the threat. Cristhian Martinez pitched

the final 1 1-3 innings for Florida to record the save.

Catcher Kelly Stoppach went 2 for 2 for the Rays and Willy Aybar

had two RBIs and a solo home run in the ninth.

Miller gave up three runs over three innings and walked four to

see his spring ERA rise to 10.80.

Balfour retired just two of the eight batters he faced in the

seventh, giving up four runs on four hits as his spring ERA

ballooned to 14.73.