ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Donovan Solano hit a three-run homer off David Price to help the Miami Marlins beat Tampa Bay 5-3 on Wednesday night, extending the Rays’ longest losing streak in nearly five years to nine games. It is the second-longest losing streak in the major leagues this season.
Casey McGehee had an RBI single for the Marlins, who won the first two games of a four-game home-and-home series in Miami, including Tuesday’s 1-0 win on a bases-loaded walk.
The sputtering Rays, coming off an 0-8 trip that was the worst in team history, tumbled 14 games under .500 at 23-37 — the second-worst record in baseball. The last time they were this far below the break-even point was the end of 2007, the final season they were called the Devil Rays.
The team has made the playoffs as the Rays four of the past six seasons, but are in the midst of a horrendous offensive slump that’s seen them bat .217 on the trip to Toronto, Boston and Miami and score 21 runs during their longest skid since dropping 11 straight in September 2009.
Tom Koehler (5-5) pitched five innings for the Marlins, allowing three first-inning runs on Ben Zobrist’s two-run homer and a solo shot by Evan Longoria. Bryan Morris and Mike Dunn shut down the Rays over the next three innings, and Steve Cishek escaped a ninth-inning jam for his 13th save in 14 opportunities.
The Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, but only scored once. Cishek walked Longoria intentionally to reload the bases with two outs, then got James Loney to pop out to end the game.
Price (4-5) allowed five runs — one earned — and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out 11 and walked none, but paid for Longoria’s third-inning error and gave up Solano’s first home run of the season.
After being limited to two runs over the last four games of their woeful trip, the first three batters scored against Koehler, who walked David DeJesus before giving up home runs to Zobrist and Longoria, who has just one other extra-base hit in his past 23 games.
The Marlins rebounded with four unearned runs in the third, the first scoring when Longoria failed to hold onto the ball after fielding a grounder at third base and applying a tag on a sliding Marcell Ozuna for what should have been the final out of the inning.
The miscue left Miami with runners at first and third. Solano hit his homer to left field on the next pitch for a 5-3 lead.
NOTES: Tampa Bay OF Wil Myers, who will be in a cast for five to six weeks due to a stress fracture in his right wrist, is hopeful that the time off will also help a sore left wrist that he hurt early in the season. … Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow surgery) says he will make his first rehab start Saturday for Single-A Charlotte. He expects to be back before the All-Star break. … C Ryan Hanigan, on the DL with right hamstring tightness, caught Hellickson’s bullpen session. … Miami RHP Carter Capps (strained right elbow) got a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, who agreed with team doctors that the reliever can resume playing catch after a month of rest. … Marlins SS Rafael Furcal (left hamstring strain) will move his rehab assignment from Single-A Jupiter to Double-A Jacksonville on Thursday.
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