ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Jake McGee had been unhittable over his last seven outings and had not been scored upon since late April. That’s why it was surprising to see the Marlins reach him for three hits and a pair of runs Thursday.
McGee’s off day set the trend for a bullpen that allowed seven runs as the Rays dropped their 10th straight game with an 11-6 loss to the visiting Marlins.
McGee entered the game in the sixth inning with no outs and a runner on second base. He allowed a single to 1B Garrett Jones, which snapped a stretch where McGee had retired 21 straight batters. CF Marcell Ozuna followed with an RBI single. It was the first time this season McGee allowed an inherited runner to score.
McGee’s streak of 15 scoreless outings, which dated to April 28, ended when C J.T. Realmuto singled home Jones.
“Jake just had one of those unusually tough days,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That was pretty much it.”
McGee’s struggles meant Maddon had to move up the order in which he was using his relievers. RHP Brad Boxberger followed McGee. RHP Joel Peralta followed Boxberger. Closer Grant Balfour pitched the eighth inning and would have gone back out for the ninth had the Rays tied it or gone ahead in the bottom of the eighth. They did not.
Big day for Kiermaier
RF Kevin Kiermaier had his first three-hit game in the major leagues. Included was a home run and a double.
Since May 18, Kiermaier leads the team with three home runs and six extra-base hits despite spending six of those days at Triple-A Durham. Six of his 11 career hits have gone for extra bases.
“He’s a high-energy guy,” Maddon said. “He plays with his head on fire.”
Hanigan nearing return
C Ryan Hanigan (right hamstring tightness), who took batting practice before Thursday’s game, is expected to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Saturday with Single-A Charlotte.
Hanigan will catch for RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who will make his first rehab start against the Tampa Yankees in Tampa.
Hanigan could play a second rehab game, probably on Monday, then rejoin the team Tuesday, when he is eligible to come off the disabled list.
The arrow returns
RHP Fernando Rodney, who saved 85 games for the Rays over the past two seasons, returns to the Trop tonight with the Mariners for the start of a four-game series.
You can bet he packed four imaginary arrows for the trip, since he still fires them after saving games for the Mariners, something he has done 16 times this season.
“For as much as I appreciated it (when he was a Ray), I don’t want to see it,” Maddon said.
Maddon hopes the Rays can deny Rodney a save opportunity over these next four days. If not?
“My mind can’t make all those leaps and bounds,” Maddon said.
Maddon does expect Rodney to throw a baseball at the gong in right field during the Mariners’ batting practice, since Rodney did that before each game last season.
C Luke Maile, 2B Ryan Brett and OF Tylor Motter of Double-A Montgomery will represent the Biscuits at the Southern League All-Star Game on June 17 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
C Justin O’Conner, 1B Patrick Leonard and SS Leonardo Reginatto will represent Charlotte at the Florida State League All-Star Game held June 14 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.
RHP Jake Faria, RHP Ian Kendall, RHP Ryan Stanek, 2B Kean Wong, OF Granden Goetzman will represent Single-A Bowling Green in the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 17 at West Michigan.
The Rays have allowed three or more runs in an inning a major league-high 38 times this season. .... 3B Evan Longoria had his first double since May 10, snapping a career-long 23 game drought without a double. ... The Marlins swept the Rays in a season series for only the second time. ... Realmuto made his major-league debut and had two hits and three RBI. Marlins DH Justin Bour also had his first big-league hit.