Kevin Kiermaier hit the first pitch Tampa Bay saw for an inside-the-park home run, Shane McClanahan logged six scoreless innings and the Rays blanked the Miami Marlins 4-0 on Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Kiermaier electrified the crowd by lining the first pitch from Pablo Lopez (4-2) to shallow center field, where Jesus Sanchez raced in and attempted a diving catch toward the infield. But Sanchez missed the ball entirely, and it rolled over the dome stadium’s turf to the wall.
The Rays’ center fielder never hesitated and circled the bases, sliding home to comfortably beat the relay throw by shortstop Erik Gonzalez for his team-leading sixth home run.
In his second career start against Miami, McClanahan (4-2) allowed four hits and two walks and notched nine strikeouts. He has beaten the Marlins in both outings.
Dusten Knight (two innings, one hit) and Ryan Thompson (perfect ninth) finished the shutout.
Harold Ramirez and Ji-Man Choi hit home runs as the Rays opened their six-game homestand with a victory after dropping two of three games in Baltimore over the weekend.
Kiermaier, Ramirez (double), Choi (double) and Mike Zunino produced two-hit games.
Miami’s Garrett Cooper went 2-for-4 and Jacob Stallings was 2-for-2 with a walk. However, the Marlins only mustered five hits to start their eight-game road trip.
In a seven-inning stint, Lopez saw all four of his runs against produced by homers. He allowed nine hits and struck out eight without a walk.
With the Rays up 1-0 on Kiermaier’s speedy round-tripper, Ramirez hit a homer of the more conventional variety leading off the second, slicing a shot inside the right field foul pole for his first long ball and a two-run lead.
The hard-throwing McClanahan blew away the visiting lineup in the first five innings with all of his nine strikeouts — six swinging — and allowing just one runner to reach second base.
Miami put a runner on third with two outs in the sixth, but McClanahan got out of the inning on a freak play.
The southpaw’s errant fastball eluded Zunino and went to the backstop, and Cooper attempted to score from third. But the ball caromed all the way back to third baseman Isaac Paredes, who easily tossed out Cooper at home plate.
Following Randy Arozarena’s leadoff double in the sixth, Choi slugged his third homer deep to right field for the final 4-0 margin.
–Field Level Media