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Wendle Rallies Rays To Series Win Over Marlins

Joey Wendle
(photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays)

Joey Wendle‘s three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning erased a 4-2 deficit and powered the Tampa Bay Rays to their second straight victory to start the 2021 regular season, defeating the Miami Marlins 6-4 Friday at loanDepot Park.

Tampa Bay was just three outs away from dropping Friday’s contest, and facing Marlins closer Anthony BassRandy Arozarena grounded out to start the inning, but Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz each singled in front of Wendle, who took a 1-2 pitch and sent it into the second deck in right, giving the Rays the lead for good.

For the second straight day, a Rays starting pitcher did not allow a run, as Ryan Yarbrough worked into the sixth inning, giving up just four hits and striking out three.

Tampa Bay got on the board in the top of the sixth inning, as Austin Meadows, who homered on Opening Day, went deep again for the second straight contest.

Manuel Margot made it 2-0 an inning later, taking former teammate Jon Curtiss out to left field for his first home run of the season.

Miami finally got on the board for the first time this season with two out in the home seventh, as Jazz Chisholm tripled off Chaz Roe, and Jorge Alfaro followed with a walk.  Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in left-hander Ryan Sherriff to face pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson, but the former Ray doubled to cut the lead back to one run, and Miguel Rojas followed with a two-run single to put the Marlins ahead for the first time.

Brian Anderson‘s eighth inning RBI single off Andrew Kittredge (1-0) extended Miami’s lead to 4-2.

Francisco Mejia added a sacrifice fly in the ninth after Wendle’s home run, pushing the Rays’ lead back to two runs.  Diego Castillo allowed a two-out single to Starling Marte in the bottom of the ninth, but got pinch-hitter Magneuris Sierra to ground out to end the game and notch his second save in as many days.

Up Next

Tampa Bay Rays (2-0) at Miami Marlins (0-2), 7:10 p.m. first pitch.

Rays starter: LHP Rich Hill (2-2, 3.03 ERA in 2020)

Marlins starter: RHP Elieser Hernandez (1-0, 3.16 ERA in 2020)

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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