MIAMI (AP) - Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has a suggestion to help his players shake their clutch-hitting slump.
``Whatever they're doing,' he said, ``do the opposite.'
The big hit again eluded the Marlins on Friday night, compounding the misery of this week's homestand as they lost 5-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Marlins went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. They are 1 for 28 in those situations during their homestand, losing all four games while totaling four runs.
``Nobody remains perfect the entire season,' said Jose Reyes, who had two hits, both with the bases empty. ``We just have to keep battling. We're going through a rough stretch, but we are better than what we're showing right now. It's a stretch that we don't want to prolong.'
Before the game, Guillen said the demotion of outfielder Bryan Petersen to Triple-A served as a warning to several other struggling hitters. Then it was more of the same for the Marlins' dormant offense.
Miami loaded the bases with none out in the third but scored only one run - on a sacrifice fly by Greg Dobbs. Jeremy Hellickson walked two when he loaded the bases again with two outs in the fourth, but Giancarlo Stanton flied out to end the inning.
The Marlins stranded 13 runners.
``We've got to do better than that,' Guillen said. ``If we want to compete, we've got to do better with people on base. That's the bottom line.'
Omar Infante had three hits and scored the Marlins' run in the third. Ricky Nolasco (6-4) allowed three runs in six innings.
``We're in a little bit of a slump right now,' Nolasco said. ``We'll be fine. I wouldn't be surprised if we put a big number of runs Saturday. We're just waiting to break out.'
Matt Joyce homered, doubled and scored three times. Joyce went 2 for 3 with two walks, hiking his on-base percentage to .409. Rays teammate Jose Lobaton had two doubles and scored once.
Five Rays pitchers combined to throw 185 pitches.
``It wasn't an oil painting,' manager Joe Maddon said.
Former Marlin Burke Badenhop (1-1) came on in the fifth and threw 1 2-3 shutout innings. Fernando Rodney pitched a hitless ninth - the only inning in which the Marlins didn't strand a runner.
``The bullpen was fantastic,' Maddon said. ``The star of the game: Badenhop.'
Hellickson gave up a career-high seven walks and threw 108 pitches in 4 1-3 innings, but he allowed only one run. The Marlins went 0 for 5 against him with runners in scoring position, and he has held batters to a .106 average with runners in scoring position this season, lowest in the majors.
The Rays scored the game's first run in the third inning. Joyce hit a bloop double and came home when B.J. Upton singled on an 0-2 pitch.
Tampa Bay scored in the fourth when Lobaton doubled, went to third on a bunt and came home on a two-out infield hit by Will Rhymes.
Joyce hit his 10th homer leading off the fifth to make it 3-1. Ben Zobrist lifted his average above .200 with a run-scoring single in the seventh, and Carlos Pena followed with an RBI single.
NOTES: Hellickson has won one of his past seven starts despite allowing only 13 earned runs. ... Thank goodness for a roof: Lightning was visible through the windows beyond left field during batting practice. ... Hall of Fame football coach Don Shula threw the ceremonial first pitch to Guillen. ... Stanton committed his sixth error, the most among major league outfielders. ... Maddon described the Marlins' outfield wall as ``Dodge Challenger green circa 1970 - a very desirable color.' As for the home run sculpture, he said, ``Somebody liked it.'
The Associated Press News Service
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