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Marlins beat Rays 3-2 behind rookie Lopez

July 22, 2018
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Miami Marlins' Miguel Rojas connects for a ground ball that scored Starlin Castro during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, July 21, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — After just four major league starts, Miami Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez looks like he’s got the hang of it. Or at least he did Saturday night.

Lopez gave up one run on three hits in six innings, Cameron Maybin homered and the Marlins beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2.

“He’s going to keep getting better. I think he’s going to learn from every start,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. “His look is different than most guys with three or four starts under their belt. He’s pretty composed.”

Lopez (2-1) struck out six, helping the Marlins match their longest winning streak of the season at four games.

″(Major league hitters are) the best at what they do. That’s why they’re here, and they’re ready to hit pitches,” said the 22-year-old Lopez. “Our job is to break their rhythm, and that’s what we try to do.”

Joey Wendle led off the Tampa Bay fourth with a home run, his fifth, after Lopez had pitched three perfect innings. Lesson learned.

“I fell behind in the count and missed my spot. He took the chance and he hit it,” Lopez said.

Rays manager Kevin Cash noted the way Lopez was able to change his fastball.

“He cut it, he sank it. I’m not sure if it was by design or what, but you could tell it had a lot of late life through the zone,” Cash said.

The Marlins, who have won four of five against the Rays this season, pulled even in the all-time Florida series, 56-56. A win in Sunday’s series finale would give them their first five-game win streak since April 24-30, 2016.

Maybin’s third home run came in the seventh off Rays reliever Hunter Wood.

Martin Prado drove in the game’s first run with a double in the fourth off Ryan Yarbrough (8-5) and scored on Miguel Rojas’ ground ball.

Adam Conley, Drew Steckenrider and Kyle Barraclough each pitched an inning of relief for the Marlins. Barraclough earned his 10th save in 13 opportunities despite giving up a 460-foot home run to Ji-Man Choi.

Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh due to a sore left oblique. Justin Williams, the pinch hitter who was called up from Triple-A Durham Saturday and arrived at the game in the third inning, grounded into a double play in his first major league at-bat.

The one-run loss was the 23rd of the season for the Rays, who have lost five of their last six overall.

MORE TIME OFF

Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier says he will be out until at least Monday after getting a cortisone shot for a bone bruise on his foot, an injury stemming from a foul ball on April 8. “If I can just have this back to normal, then I’ll finally feel like I have my body under me once again for the first time since opening week of the season,” said Kiermaier, who returned June 19 after missing 57 games due to a torn right thumb ligament.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: Barraclough returned to the team after missing Friday night’s game with “a little bit of a stomach thing going on,” according to Mattingly.

Rays: 3B Matt Duffy (back spasms) was out of the lineup for the second straight game but might start Sunday.

MINORS MATTERS

Marlins: RHP Tyler Kolek (right shoulder), taken second overall in the 2014 draft, allowed four runs and four hits over two-thirds of an inning in his second start for the GCL Marlins. On the Class A Greensboro disabled list, Kolek made five GCL appearances last year after missing 2016 following Tommy John surgery.

UP NEXT

RHP Trevor Richards (3-5) will pitch for the Marlins against RHP Chris Archer (3-4) in the finale of the six-game intrastate series.

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