MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins are looking to avoid losing both of their opening series on Sunday.READ MORE: Grandmother Hopes For Justice One Year After Murder Of Chassidy Saunders
First-year manager Kevin Cash can cross a few things off his list of goals after getting his first overall win and first on the road with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The next checkpoint will be his first series victory, which the Rays can secure for their skipper Sunday in the finale of a three-game set against the Marlins.
Following a hard-fought 10-9 loss to the Marlins (1-4) in extra innings Friday, Cash turned to Chris Archer, who delivered seven innings of one-hit ball in a 2-0 win that gave Tampa Bay’s bullpen some needed rest after eight relievers pitched the previous night.
Kevin Jepsen worked a scoreless eighth and Brad Boxberger nailed it down in the ninth for his second save.
“Obviously, big win today,” Cash told the Rays’ official website. “Any time you play a game like you did last night, as happy as we were with the way we battled back, it’s still a blow. And then to bounce back just showed a lot from the guys.”
The win followed a wild series opener in which the Rays (2-3) overcame an 8-1 deficit with a seven-run seventh before losing on Christian Yelich’s walk-off single in the 10th.
Yelich, who had Miami’s only hit off Archer on Saturday, has been the key to the Marlins’ offense thus far, batting a team-leading .316 (6 for 19) with three RBIs and a .409 on-base percentage.
Giancarlo Stanton has also driven in three runs but is hitting just .200, while Adeiny Hechavarria, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Martin Prado are a combined 5 for 49 (.102).READ MORE: No Major Accidents After 'Wheels Up, Guns Down' Bicyclists Hit Miami Highways
Outside of Friday’s slugfest, the Marlins have scored just three runs in their losses, although they could rediscover some offense against Nathan Karns (0-1, 9.53 ERA).
The 27-year-old right-hander, making just his seventh career start, was shelled by Baltimore in his season debut Tuesday. He allowed six runs and five hits with four walks in 5 2-3 innings, leading Tampa Bay to a 6-5 defeat.
Karns tossed a gem Sept. 12 when he held Toronto scoreless through seven, but has otherwise been ineffective in the majors, surrendering 22 earned runs in 22 2-3 innings.
His counterpart for the series finale will be Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 2.57), who suffered the loss on Miami’s opening day despite pitching seven strong innings against Atlanta. Alvarez’s strong start came on the heels of a career year in 2014, when he posted a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts, including a complete game shutout against Tampa Bay on June 3.
Manager Mike Redmond looks for a similar performance from Alvarez on Sunday.
“We’re still feeling our way through it right now, trying to get going,” Redmond said Saturday. “I was hoping after last night’s walk-off that we’d come out, but we ran up against a good pitcher and he shut us down.
“The beauty of baseball is that we have a chance to win the series tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll go out there and Hendy will give us a great start and a chance to win the series.”
Kevin Kiermaier has hit safely in all six career meetings against Miami for a .474 average with two home runs.MORE NEWS: Butler Gets Triple-Double, Heat Hold Off Raptors 104-99
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