Marlins' offensive funk continues
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Miami manager Ozzie Guillen thinks a more simple approach is the key for his team to break out of an offensive funk.
Alex Cobb pitched two-hit ball for seven innings, B.J. Upton homered and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Marlins 3-0 on Sunday.
"See the ball, hit the ball and have some fun playing baseball," Guillen said. "Just be aggressive."
Tampa Bay rookie Matt Moore and two relievers combined on a one-hitter in an 11-0 win over the Marlins on Friday night.
"We do everything that's possible you can do to prepare them to play," Guillen said. "You've got to execute. This game is about execution. You don't execute, then you're going to fail. I'm not saying they're not trying, I'm not saying they don't care, they do. We all do."
Cobb (3-3), who had lost his previous three starts, struck out a career-high 10, walked one and hit a batter. He allowed only Gaby Sanchez's third-inning ground single to center until Greg Dobbs had a two-out single in the seventh.
"As tough as it is to go through something like this, because we all know we're better, ballclubs go through that," Dobbs said. "Just realize that it's not going to last forever. I think as a whole we need to just relax, trust that we can get it done and trust in the process of how to get it done."
After Joel Peralta worked a perfect inning, Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 19th save and to complete the two-hitter.
Upton put the Rays up 1-0 on a first-inning leadoff homer. It was his first home run since May 22.
Josh Johnson (4-5) allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings for the Marlins, who have dropped 10 of 12. He had gone 4-1 over his previous seven starts.
"Lots of balls ... struggled to find the zone," Johnson said. "I was all over the place. I found a way to battle and get outs."
Johnson threw just 55 of 108 pitches for strikes. The loss was his first interleague defeat since June 23, 2007, against Minnesota, a stretch that included six wins in nine starts before Sunday.
The teams were coming off a 15-inning game Saturday night that lasted 5 hours, 7 minutes and was won 4-3 by the Marlins.
Elliot Johnson drew a two-out walk, stole second and scored to make it 2-0 on Drew Sutton's single in the sixth. Ben Zobrist extended the lead on a seventh-inning RBI single.
Josh Johnson got defensive help in the third when Sanchez made a nice grab at first base on Hideki Matusi's liner with runners on first and third and turned it into an unassisted inning-ending double play.
The Rays had two on with one out during the fourth, but Johnson worked out of the jam by striking out Sutton and Sean Rodriguez. The right-hander also got a one-out double-play grounder from Matsui one inning later with two runners on.
Tampa Bay second baseman Will Rhymes, after Donovan Solano's grounder in the fifth was deflected by Cobb, used his glove to shove the ball to first to retire the Marlins' infielder.
NOTES: Marlins LHP Mark Buehrle (5-7), who has 24 interleague wins, will face Boston RHP Clay Buchholz (7-2) in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night at Fenway Park. ... Miami has lost nine of 10 to Tampa Bay.