MIAMI (AP) - The Miami Marlins' worst week of the season ended with a feeble dribbler a few feet in front of the plate.
Jose Reyes was an easy out at first base, sealing the Marlins' latest loss during a homestand that's still winless. They mustered only seven hits Sunday and the Tampa Bay Rays completed a three-game sweep with a 4-2 victory.
``It's kind of weird how we play (well) one week, and another week we play very bad,' Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said.
The Marlins fell to 0-6 on their homestand and have been outscored 43-10 while going 5 for 50 with runners in scoring position.
Missed chances were again the difference in the finale against the Rays, who outscored Miami in the series 22-7.
``We've got to play better,' Guillen said. ``We really were pretty flat at the plate all weekend.'
Anibal Sanchez (3-5) pitched six innings and allowed four runs, including two homers. He has made 12 starts this season, and the Marlins have scored 18 runs with him in the game.
Sanchez lost for the fifth time in his past six outings.
``The team is really down with the situation the way it is right now,' he said. ``We're not scoring too much, and we're leaving too many on.'
Matt Joyce hit his 11th homer and Elliot Johnson hit his third to help the Rays (35-25) improve the best record in the American League. James Shields (7-4) allowed one run in 6 1-3 innings to win for the first time in his past five starts.
``I'm definitely pleased,' Shields said. ``I felt pretty good for the most part. Overall it was a good start - better than the last few.'
Three relievers completed a seven-hitter. Fernando Rodney earned his 18th save in 19 chances with a scoreless ninth and lowered his ERA to 0.94.
B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist each had two of the Rays' eight hits. They've won four games in a row, and against Miami they've won seven straight.
Gaby Sanchez, recalled before the game after a three-week demotion to Triple-A, doubled in the seventh to drive in the Marlins' first run. Teammate Logan Morrison, back in the lineup after being benched for two games because of a slump, had three hits and drove in a run.
But the Marlins went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
``You just have to keep grinding,' Morrison said. ``We need to keep putting together good at_bats, keep playing defense and just keep pitching, and the ball will fall our way.'
Reyes, Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez went a combined 0 for 12 at the top of the Miami order. Brett Hayes stranded four runners and is 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position this season.
Morrison doubled with one out in the second inning. Shields put out that threat and retired 10 in a row until pinch hitter Justin Ruggiano doubled to start the sixth.
Shields pitched out of that jam, too, striking out Giancarlo Stanton to end the inning.
Upton doubled off the scoreboard to drive in a run for Tampa Bay in the first inning.
Joyce led off the fourth inning with a homer into the first row of the center-field seats. Zobrist singled, and with one out Johnson homered for a 4-0 lead.
NOTES: RF Stanton slid headfirst on the warning track after he made a leaping catch to rob Zobrist of a hit. ... The crowd of 31,111 included 648 tickets for dogs on bark at the park day. ... The Rays began the day with the best record in the AL at 34-25 (.576). That's the lowest winning percentage by the league leader on June 10 since 1959. ... Josh Beckett, the Marlins' World Series star in 2003, pitches against them for the first time Monday when Miami opens a series against the Boston Red Sox at home.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved