EditorsNote: 9th graf, change one out to two outs; smaller changes elsewhere
Charlie Morton pitched six scoreless innings and Avisail Garcia slugged a 471-foot homer and added two RBI singles to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-0 win over the host Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
Garcia went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, raising his batting average to .296.
Morton (4-0) allowed just three hits — all singles — and no walks, striking out five and lowering his ERA from 2.64 to 2.32. Morton is 33-10 since the start of the 2017 season.
He had a 10-1 ratio in ground balls to flyouts on Tuesday, and that’s significant. His 55 percent career groundball rate is third among active pitchers with a minimum of 1,000 innings.
Still, Morton was removed after just 82 pitches despite retiring the final 10 batters he faced.
Tampa Bay closed out the game with relievers Emilio Pagan, Diego Castillo and Chaz Roe pitching one scoreless inning each.
Marlins starter Caleb Smith (3-1) took a hard-luck loss. In 5 1/3 innings, he allowed four hits, two walks and two runs, striking out eight. He entered the game in the top six in the National League in ERA among starters, batting average allowed and strikeouts per nine innings.
Tampa Bay, though, got to Smith in the second as Garcia led off by slugging an 0-2 fastball to center for his seventh homer of the season.
Miami threatened in the third, putting runners on the corners with two outs on singles by Jon Berti and Brian Anderson. But Neil Walker struck out swinging on a 2-2 curve.
The Rays stretched their lead to 2-0 in the sixth. Tommy Pham, who had reached on a fielder’s choice following a hit by Yandy Diaz, scored from second on Garcia’s RBI single.
Marlins reliever Sergio Romo allowed four walks in the eighth, including one intentional pass. His final free pass gave Kevin Kiermaier an RBI and the Rays a 3-0 lead.
Garcia added another RBI in the ninth — this time on an infield single against reliever Tyler Kinley - and Miami suffered its ninth loss in 10 games. The Marlins have lost eight games by shutout this season.
—Field Level Media