ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays' struggles in one-run games continued Saturday evening, as Cameron Maybin's seventh-inning home run proved to be the difference for the Miami Marlins, taking a 3-2 decision from Tampa Bay to clinch the Citrus Series from the Rays.
Both sides could not punch through early in the contest, as Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough combined to keep Miami off the scoreboard, while Pablo Lopez was perfect the first time through the Tampa Bay batting order. However, Yarbrough (8-5) hit a snag in the fourth, as he started by walking Justin Bour and allowing a single to Starlin Castro. Martin Prado then doubled in Bour to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead and Miguel Rojas doubled the advantage with a groundout two batters later.
Joey Wendle, hitting leadoff due to Kevin Kiermaier's bone bruise, came through in the home half of the inning, leading off with a solo home run to straightaway center field, his fifth home run of the year but his first at Tropicana Field, cutting the deficit back to a single run.
The contest remained 2-1 until the seventh, when Maybin led off the inning against Hunter Wood by nearly doubling down the left-field line. The ball was ruled foul, and it turned out to be to the center fielder's benefit, as he took a 3-1 offering and sent it into the seats in left-center for his third home run of the season.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay stranded the potential tying run at third base in the sixth as C.J. Cron popped out with Daniel Robertson 90 feet from scoring, and after falling down two runs, stranded a pair in the bottom of the seventh, when pinch-hitter Justin Williams, making his Major League debut in place of an injured Adeiny Hechavarria, grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Hechavarria's injury, announced as left oblique soreness, forced manager Kevin Cash to move Carlos Gomez in to play second base, just the second time in his professional career he has played the position.
For the second straight night, Tampa Bay tried to rally back in the ninth. Ji-Man Choi blasted his first home run as a member of the Rays with one out in the inning off Marlins closer Kyle Barraclough, a solo shot that landed on the roof of the porch in center field.
However, that would be as close as the Rays would get as Gomez struck out and Mallex Smith flew out to end the game and secure Barraclough's tenth save of the year.
The loss, Tampa Bay's third straight and fifth in their last six games, drops them back to .500 on the year at 49-49.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Miami Marlins (1:10 p.m. first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 11:00 a.m. with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.
Rays starter - RHP Chris Archer (3-4, 4.29 ERA)
Marlins starter - RHP Trevor Richards (3-5, 4.74 ERA)
Monday - Rays vs. New York Yankees, 7:10 p.m. first pitch
Tuesday - Rays vs. New York Yankees, 7:10 p.m. first pitch
Wednesday - Rays vs. New York Yankees, 12:10 p.m. first pitch