The Tampa Bay Rays (95-59) blew out the Miami Marlins (64-89) 8-0 on Friday night at Tropicana Field. With the win and the Yankees defeating the Red Sox 8-3 in Boston, the Rays magic number to win the AL East now stands at two games.
The Rays struck early in this one as Randy Arozerena hit a three-run double in the first inning, and Tampa Bay never looked back. Kevin Kiermaier hit a bloop two-run double in the fourth to make it 5-0, then Francisco Mejia hit a two-run single in the fifth to make it 7-0. Kiermaier added an RBI triple in the seventh to make it 8-0 Tampa Bay, which would be the final score.
Kiermaier finished the game 3-for-3 with three RBIs to set the pace. Wander Franco returned from the IL and got the start at shortstop - he walked in the sixth inning to reach base in his 40th consecutive game. He also doubled in the eighth and finished his return with a 1-for-4 night.
David Robertson was the opener before giving way to Ryan Yarbrough (9-6, 5.09) who pitched six innings on shutout ball in which he allowed two hits while striking out four. Dietrich Enns finished the shutout by pitching the final two innings without allowing a run.
The Rays and Marlins meet in the second game of their three game series on Saturday evening. If the Yankees defeat the Red Sox again on Saturday, and the Rays beat the Marlins once again, Tampa Bay could wrap up the American League East on Saturday. First pitch in the Red Sox-Yankees game is scheduled for 4:10 PM. First pitch from Tropicana Field for Rays-Marlins is scheduled for 6:10 PM - pregame coverage begins with Neil Solondz hosting This Week In Rays Baseball at 4:30 PM on 95.3 WDAE & AM 620.
PHOTO COURTESY GETTY IMAGES