The Rays bullpen needed a rest, the Rays needed Roberto Hernandez to give them innings, and Roberto Hernandez needed a confidence boost after back-to-back poor starts. Everyone got what they wanted as the Rays defeated the Marlins 3-1 to improve to 28-24 on the season.
Everyone got what they wanted as Roberto Hernandez (3-5, 4.87 ERA) picked up the victory by delivering a gem going 8.2 innings allowing only 1 unearned run on 3 hits without issuing a walk and recorded 12 ground ball outs. He was in command of his arsenal all night long delivering 23 of 29 first pitch strikes and throwing 67 of his 92 pitches for strikes.
After a leadoff double he retired 15 hitters in a row and 26 of the next 27 batters. With 2-out in the bottom of the ninth Placido Polanco singled and despite only having 92 pitches and the Rays holding a 2-run lead Joe Maddon summoned Fernando Rodney into the game to face Derek Dietrich. Rodney needed just 2-pitches to retire Dietrich on a line drive to right fielder Matt Joyce and pick up his 10th save on the year.
The only run that Hernandez allowed came in the bottom of the first inning and it was unearned. After doubling to lead off the game Chris Coghlan was tagging up on a fly out to right and came in to score when the throw from Matt Joyce bounced past both Evan Longoria and Roberto Hernandez into the stands to allow him to score the Marlins lone run.
Tom Koehler (0-3, 3.22 ERA) took the loss and the Marlins fall to 13-40 on the year. Koehler was nearly as sharp as Hernandez going 8 innings and allowing just 3R/ER on 7 hits striking out 4 and walking just 1.
The Rays got to him for two runs in the top of the first with three consecutive hits. A single by Ben Zobrist, a double by Matt Joyce, and single by Kelly Johnson to score Zobrist and put runners on 1st and 3rd for Evan Longoria who bounced into a double play that scored Joyce from 3rd. The Rays added their third run in the top of the 7th inning on a Yunel Escobar sacrifice fly to score James Loney.
The Rays will look for the 4-game home and home sweep against the Miami Marlins tomorrow at 7:10. The Rays will send Alex Colome to the mound in place of the injured Alex Cobb (finger nail status day to day). Alex Colome will be making his major league debut while the Marlins will counter with Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 3.65 ERA).