ST. PETERSBURG -- Cole Gillespie's RBI single in the eighth drove home the go-ahead run to lead the Marlins to a 4-3 win over the Rays on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.
J.T. Realmuto singled off Tyler Sturdevant to lead off the Marlins' eighth and moved to second on Chris Johnson's sacrifice bunt. Gillespie, who made his first start of the season with fellow outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich out, then laced a single to right that scored Realmuto.
"It's just been a pinch-hitting role so far, so I've been kind of eager to get that first start out of the way," Gillespie said. "Knowing that you're going to get more than one at-bat kind of gives you a little comfort throughout the game."
"I thought Matt Andriese was good," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Offensively, quiet night, except for the early run, and LoMo, you know, continues to stay hot with the big hit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cole comes through: The go-ahead single in the eighth was part of a successful night for Gillespie, who finished 2-for-5 with an RBI. He has produced two RBIs in the past three games, with the first coming in a victory over the Rays on Monday at Marlins Park. Before Wednesday, he had no hits in eight at-bats this season.
"Hopefully, some more consistent at-bats can come," Gillespie said. "Whatever the role is, I'll be ready for it." More >
Morrison continues to rake: Morrison has been red-hot, entering the game with a .475 OPS in May, and he added to that on Wednesday night with an RBI single in the second and a two-run homer in the sixth. All told, the former Marlin was 3-for-4, raising his average from .206 to .225. More >
Ozuna the offensive machine: Ozuna extended his on-base streak to 32 games when he smacked a two-run single to right field off Andriese with one out in the third inning. The hit broke a 1-1 tie, scoring Bour and Martin Prado in the process. Ozuna's streak is the longest in the Majors this season, and the longest by a Marlins player since Logan Morrison reached in 34 straight from April 1-June 3, 2011.
"It was a good feeling, obviously," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Ozuna's hit. "We got down, and right now, you're scratching for runs. Just this time of the year, anything counts. So it was big for everybody." More >
Motter matters:Taylor Motter started at shortstop for the Rays and showed off his defensive skills in the fifth. Prado led off the inning for the Marlins by smoking a shot between third and short that Motter dove to backhand while sliding to his right. He quickly got to his feet and threw a strike over his shoulder to first to complete the fielding gem.
"The best play of the game," Cash said. "He's a pretty athletic player for sure. I think he's going to wow us all with some of his defense. He just plays with a lot of confidence. It's like no thought process. He just catches it and throws it."
"Rojas, my Venezuelan brother, got me a couple times out there. So I suppose he's due for something here soon. I don't know yet what it will be." -- Gillespie, after Marlins infielder Miguel Rojas shoved a plate full of shaving cream in his face during a postgame interview on the field
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Brandon Guyer keeps on taking one for the team. The Rays' outfielder entered the game having been hit by a pitched ball 12 times on the season -- or the equivalent of the whole Marlins team. When Nicolino hit him in the back in the third, Guyer increased his Major League lead to 13 while also breaking the tie between the visiting team and him.
In the fifth inning, Derek Dietrich hit a two-out line drive that skipped off the right-field wall and went in the air before being touched by a fan in the stands. The Marlins challenged the ground-rule double, which kept Ozuna from scoring from first, contending that there should have been fan interference. But the call on the field stood after a review of one minute and 47 seconds.
Rays closer Brad Boxberger (adductor surgery) continued to make progress toward returning to the team on Wednesday night. Pitching for Double-A Montgomery against Mariners affiliate Jackson, Boxberger threw 21 pitches and everything went well. He is slated to pitch again in Montgomery on Friday.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Right-hander Jose Fernandez receives the start for Miami in the finale of a short two-game stop at Tropicana Field, with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. Fernandez, who attended Alonso High in Tampa, is 6-2 with a 3.02 ERA in nine appearances this season. He's 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in two starts (9 1/3 innings) at Tropicana Field for his career.
Rays:Drew Smyly (2-5, 3.54) will make his 10th start. He has not allowed a home run in five of his nine starts, but he has allowed a combined nine home runs in his other four starts. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career appearances against the Marlins.