The Rays pitching depth is considered to be at the point where their starting rotation at Durham is thought to be essentially major league caliber. Tonight, another starter from the Bulls made his debut for the Rays, as Alex Colome took the mound against the Miami Marlins.
The game did not start well for Colome. After striking out the first batter he faced, Colome gave up two walks and a soft base hit to center to load the bases. He struck out Justin Ruggiano for the second out, but a passed ball allowed a run to score and the runners to move to second and third. However, Colome got out of the jam with a grounder to second to end the inning.
From that point, he settled in, matching Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco pitch for pitch. As the score remained 1-0 Marlins, it became a matter of which pitcher would crack first. In the top of the sixth, it was Nolasco who made the first mistake. After a one out walk, Matthew Joyce hit a laser into the right field seats for a two run home run, putting the Rays on top 2-1.
Colome lasted into the sixth, recording the first two outs before a base hit drove him from the game. After his 27 pitch first inning, he was impressive, giving up just the one unearned run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven batters in his major league debut.
James Loney added another run, as he led off the seventh with a home run to right to give the Rays a 3-1 lead. They threatened for me, putting runners on first and third with two out, but Ben Zobrist struck out to end the threat. Miami got another run back in the bottom of the eighth, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Joel Peralta got Greg Dobbs to ground to first, but the ball took a bad hop and got away from Loney as Dobbs reached on the error to load the bases. Josh Lueke came in, and walked pinch hitter Miguel Olivo after two calls on check swings went against the Rays. However, with the bases loaded and Tampa clinging to the one run lead, he struck out Rob Brantly to end the threat.
Zobrist came through in the top of the ninth. With runners on first and second, he lined a double down the right field line, plating both runners to give the Rays a 5-3 lead. Fernando Rodney made that lead stand up, recording his eleventh save of the year as the Rays went a season high five games over .500 with their four game sweep of the Marlins.
Jose Molina had a rough day behind the plate, with two passed balls and issues catching several other pitches, but he also went 1-4 with a run scored to extend his hitting streak to eight games.