MIAMI (AP) — Charlie Morton pitched six strong innings, Avisail Garcia homered and drove in three runs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Miami Marlins 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Morton (4-0) gave up three hits and struck out five while throwing 82 pitches before he was pulled for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh inning.
Garcia had a solo homer and two RBI singles for the Rays in the opener of the two-game series against their cross-state interleague rivals. The sparse crowd of 6,306 also featured a contingent of Rays’ fans, whose “Let’s Go Rays” chants increased as Tampa Bay scored its third run on Kevin Kiermaier’s bases loaded walk in the eighth.
Garcia finished the scoring with an infield single with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Garcia got the Rays on the scoreboard with a leadoff home run in the second. Garcia’s blast landed on the corridor above the center-field wall for his seventh of the season.′
Garcia doubled the Rays’ lead as he greeted Marlins reliever Nick Anderson with a single that scored Tommy Pham and gave in the sixth. Anderson inherited two runners from Miami starter Caleb Smith, who didn’t last past the sixth inning for the first time since his opening start on April 1.
Smith (3-1) allowed two runs and four hits, while striking out eight and walking two in 5 1/3 innings. The Marlins lost their sixths traight and ninth in the last 10.
Relievers Emilio Pagan, Diego Castillo and Chaz Roe pitched the final three innings for Tampa Bay.
Miami threatened only in the third after John Berti reached on a two-out infield single and advanced to third on Brian Anderson’s single. Morton struck out Neil Walker to end the inning.
Tampa Bay: Sidelined since opening day, INF Matt Duffy (left hamstring tightness) went 1 for 6 in three recent rehab assignments and is scheduled to play five innings Wednesday at Single-A Charlotte.
Miami: RHP Drew Steckenrider (right elbow inflammation) will visit physician James Andrews for a second opinion on his injury. Steckenrider, who split time between setup reliever and closer for the Marlins last season, was placed on the 60-day injured list last week.
The Rays will go with an opener in the series finale Wednesday while Jose Urena (1-5, 4.82) will start for the Marlins.
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