Marlins' June swoon lingers vs. in-state rivals

Marlins' June swoon lingers vs. in-state rivals

Marlins' June swoon lingers vs. in-state rivals
MIAMI -- For as good as May was to the Marlins, with a franchise-best 21 wins, the first 10 days of June have been just as bad.

Miami fell to Tampa Bay, 4-2, in front of 31,111 at Marlins Park on Sunday, losing its season-high sixth game in a row as the Rays completed the three-game sweep in the Citrus Series.

"They did everything better than we did all weekend," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They played good, they executed, they pitched well, they got big hits -- huge hits -- and we didn't. Nothing you can do about it. They beat us."

The Marlins were swept for the second consecutive series and for just the third time overall this season.

Miami has struggled to produce runs during its current nine-game homestand, which concludes with a three-game series against Boston, plating just eight runs during the first five games. Sunday was no different, as the Marlins were unable to get much going against Rays righty James Shields.

"Whether they're scuffling or not, they have a pretty good lineup over there," Shields said. "They can do some damage at any given time. ... You have to be careful with those guys. But we did our job this week."

  • 142 wins
  • 110 wins

Shields did his part Sunday, giving up just one run in 6 1/3 innings of work to continue his recent string of success against the Marlins. Shields allowed just two hits through the first six innings -- a pair of doubles to Logan Morrison in the second and Justin Ruggiano in the sixth. Ruggiano's two-base hit ended a streak of 10 consecutive batters retired by Shields. 

Both innings, however, the Marlins came up empty-handed. Brett Hayes struck out with runners on the corners in the second, and Giancarlo Stanton went down swinging with two men on in the sixth.

Miami was finally able to break through against Shields in the seventh, when Morrison hit his second double of the day and Gaby Sanchez, who was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans before the game, followed with a double of his own to put the Marlins on the board.

After Chris Coghlan worked a walk to put men on first and second though, the Marlins were unable to manufacture any more runs, with Hayes striking out, Greg Dobbs flying out to left and Jose Reyes grounding out to second to end the threat.

While the Marlins continued to struggle to come up with the big hit during their skid, the Rays had no problem finding those hits against Anibal Sanchez, who gave up four runs over six innings. B.J. Upton put the Rays up early with an RBI double in the first, and then Tampa Bay added a pair of round-trippers in the fourth -- the 10th and 11th home runs the Marlins have given up during their six-game losing streak.

Matt Joyce launched his 11th home run of the year to lead off the frame, and Elliot Johnson followed with a two-run homer to give the Rays a four-run lead.

"The last inning I let the team down and let them score too many runs," Sanchez said. "Right now the situation is we don't score too much. I think it's a bad week for the team right now and the whole game was just one inning."

With so much going wrong for the Marlins during the past six days, Morrison's performance provided one of the few bright spots as the team looks ahead to next week. The left fielder went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI single in the eighth to cut the lead to 4-2. It was just Morrison's second three-hit game this season, and his first since April 15 against the Astros.

"I was laying off pitches I was swinging at earlier and getting into good counts for the most part," Morrison said. "I just got to continue to do it."

The performance of Morrison, who snapped a 0-for-18 skid at the plate, was promising, but Guillen knows it's just one game -- much like Sunday's loss. While Miami's skipper hopes Morrison can continue his turnaround, he is also hoping for one from his team heading into Monday's opener with the Red Sox.

"It's kind of weird how we play one week and then another week we play very bad," Guillen said. "I'm kind of surprised we played very well for a month and all of a sudden you've lost the touch. ... Hopefully next week we turn things around and play better."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.