MIAMI (AP) - Tom Koehler settled down after a rough start and kept his team in the game. Too bad for him, the Miami Marlins never caught up.
Koehler tossed eight innings in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night, extending the Marlins' skid to a season-worst eight games.
Koehler (0-3) gave up three runs and seven hits. He struck four and walked one.
``Tremendous job by Tom Koehler,' Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. ``... He came out and pounded the strike zone, threw some great changeups and really breezed through that game after the first couple innings.'
The Rays started quickly. Ben Zobrist began the game with a single, Matt Joyce doubled and Kelly Johnson hit an RBI single. Evan Longoria grounded into a double play, scoring Joyce.
``It's always tough when you give up a couple runs in the first,' Koehler said. ``One run is a little easier. The first run is never the one that's going to going to beat you because you got to score to win. That one never beats you. But when you give up that second run, it puts your team in a hole and every at-bat becomes a battle for them from the beginning and that can't happen.'
Rays starter Roberto Hernandez bounced back from two rough outings and pitched 8 2-3 innings.
``Unfortunately for us, their guy was pretty good, too,' Redmond said.
Johnson and Yunel Escobar each drove in a run as the Rays won their fourth in row. Tampa Ray has taken 12 of its last 13 against the Marlins and improved to an AL-best 8-1 in interleague play this year.
The teams played in just 2 hours, 13 minutes.
Hernandez (3-5) allowed a combined 10 runs in six innings during his previous two starts against Baltimore and the New York Yankees. But he limited Miami to just one unearned run and three hits, striking out five.
``Everybody knows my last two times were very, very bad and when they gave me the ball tonight, I didn't think, I tried to throw a good game,' Hernandez said.
Chris Coghlan hit a leadoff double in the Miami first and later scored on a throwing error by right fielder Matt Joyce. After Coghlan's hit, Hernandez retired 26 of the next 27 batters, including 15 in a row at one point.
Placido Polanco singled with two outs in the ninth, prompting Maddon to lift Hernandez in favor of Fernando Rodney.
``His pitch count was good, but it was still nine times out there and he was sweating pretty good,' Maddon said.
The Rays' closer got Derek Dietrich to fly out to earn his 10th save in 15 opportunities.
The Marlins have dropped 15 of their last 17.
``Just another game like we've seen before where we couldn't get anything going offensively,' Redmond said. ``... It seems they had 15 guys out there tonight.'
Escobar added an insurance run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly that drove in James Loney, who doubled and advanced on a single by Desmond Jennings.
Marlins rookie Marcell Ozuna singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active string in the majors.
NOTES: Ozuna's streak if the third-longest in club history among rookies. Edgar Renteria had a 22-game hitting streak in 1996. ... 31-year-old Miami INF Ed Lucas earned his first big league callup after 10 years in the minors, but did not see action in the game. In a corresponding move, INF Nick Green was designated for assignment. ... Maddon announced that RHP Alex Colome will make his major league debut and start Thursday, pushing LHP Matt Moore back to Friday - Friday's scheduled starter RHP Alex Cobb has a finger laceration on his throwing hand. The Marlins will send RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 3.65 ERA) to the mound against Colome.
The Associated Press News Service
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