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Another night, another game-winning home run for Devil Rays

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Florida Marlins had another ninth-inning meltdown.

Russell Branyan hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth to give the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 4-3 victory over the Marlins on Saturday night.

The Marlins have lost a season-high six straight, and this was the fourth time in five games Florida has led in the ninth only to wind up losing. The Marlins tied a major league record -- set by the Devil Rays from April 25-May 4, 2002 -- for consecutive games lost when taking a lead into the ninth inning.

"It's really frustrating for all of us right now," losing pitcher Logan Kensing said. "It's not like we're not trying. It's just not falling in place for us. A little luck would help every once in a while."

Branyan's shot off Kensing (0-1) drove in Travis Lee, who had opened the inning with a double. He sent a 1-1 hanging slider an estimated 422 feet into the right-field stands.

"You hear it, you don't look and you just walk off the mound," Kensing said.

Ruddy Lugo (1-2) pitched a scoreless inning for his first major league win.

The Devil Rays won the series opener Friday when Aubrey Huff hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning of a 5-4 victory. It is the first time Tampa Bay has hit walkoff homers in consecutive games.

"You think about it a little bit," Branyan said. "You think if a runner gets on base, you get a chance to be a hero."

Tampa Bay bench coach Bill Evers filled in for the second consecutive game for manager Joe Maddon, who is expected back Sunday after attending his girlfriend's graduation from law school in California. The Devil Rays won both games with Evers serving in the interim role.

"I'm going to call Joe and tell him to hurry back," Evers said. "This isn't good for my heart."

Josh Johnson threw 6 2/3 solid innings and Robert Andino hit a pair of sacrifice flies for the Marlins.

"It's tough to swallow," Johnson said. "It was tough last night, too."

Johnson gave up two runs -- one earned -- and five hits. The 22-year-old rookie was looking to go 3-0 in four starts, pitching five innings or more in all of them, since joining the rotation on May 4.

Josh Willingham put the Marlins up 1-0 with a first-inning infield RBI single. Andino made it 3-0 with sacrifice flies in the second and fourth.

The Marlins left one runner on base in each of the first eight innings and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"We just weren't able to get that big hit," Florida manager Joe Girardi said.

Lee hit a run-scoring infield single during a two-run fourth that got Tampa Bay within 3-2. The second run scored when second baseman Alfredo Amezaga was charged with an error for an errant throw to first on Lee's hit.

Johnson has allowed seven runs -- five earned -- over 22 2/3 innings in his past four games. He is the first Marlins starter this season to allow less than three earned runs or less in four consecutive outings.

Doug Waechter allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. The Devil Rays had lost all seven previous games -- including six starts -- that the right-hander has appeared in this season.

Notes

  • Tampa Bay has won its first two interleague games. The Devil Rays were 3-15 against the NL last season.
  • Florida CF Reggie Abercrombie had his career-high 11-game hitting streak end. He went 0-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch.
  • Waechter hasn't won a game since last Aug. 27.
  • Lee is 2-for-31 with runners in scoring position. His first RISP hit of the season came Friday night.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Julio Lugo and Travis Lee celebrate after Russell Branyan hits a game-winning homer.  (AP)
Julio Lugo and Travis Lee celebrate after Russell Branyan hits a game-winning homer. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

R. Branyan
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Florida

J. Willingham
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Florida Marlins
Alfredo Amezaga, 2B4000112 .250
Dan Uggla, DH4110111 .307
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4000003 .327
Josh Willingham, LF4031011 .290
Joe Borchard, RF4000003 .206
Mike Jacobs, 1B3120110 .227
    Hanley Ramirez, PR0000000 .331
    Wes Helms, 1B0000000 .240
Reggie Abercrombie, CF2100122 .244
Miguel Olivo, C3010012 .243
Robert Andino, SS2002001 .214
Totals303734715 
Batting
2B - Dan Uggla (7, Waechter), Mike Jacobs (9, Orvella), Miguel Olivo (10, Waechter)
SF - Robert Andino 2 (2)
SH - Miguel Olivo (1)
RBI - Josh Willingham (30), Robert Andino 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Willingham (6)
SB - Alfredo Amezaga (3, 2nd base off Orvella/Hall), Hanley Ramirez (12, 3rd base off Orvella/Paul)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Alfredo Amezaga (1, )
Florida Marlins
Josh Johnson 6.2521240 2.62
Matt Herges (H,6) 0.1000000 5.40
Randy Messenger (H,1) 1000000 5.28
Logan Kensing (BS,2; L,0-1) 0.2222001 7.04
HBP - Lugo (by Josh Johnson)
WP - Josh Johnson (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Johnson 109-67, Matt Herges 4-3, Randy Messenger 11-7, Logan Kensing 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Johnson 9-7, Logan Kensing 2-0
Batters Faced - Josh Johnson 28, Matt Herges 1, Randy Messenger 3, Logan Kensing 4
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Julio Lugo, SS3000011 .232
Carl Crawford, LF3000102 .261
Jonny Gomes, DH4110012 .283
Aubrey Huff, 3B4120000 .164
Ty Wigginton, 2B4000011 .243
Travis Lee, 1B4121011 .205
Toby Hall, C2000102 .286
    Josh Paul, PR-C0000000 .265
Damon Hollins, RF-CF4000002 .248
Joey Gathright, CF2010000 .204
   a- Russell Branyan, PH-RF2112001 .203
Totals324732412 
a-flied out for Gathright in the 7th
Batting
2B - Travis Lee (6, Kensing)
HR - Russell Branyan (4, Kensing)
SH - Josh Paul (2)
RBI - Travis Lee (10), Russell Branyan 2 (12)
2-OUT RBI - Travis Lee (6), Russell Branyan 2 (4)
SB - Joey Gathright (9, 2nd base off Johnson/Olivo)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Lugo-Wigginton-Lee
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Doug Waechter 6633320 6.63
Chad Orvella 2100140 6.59
Ruddy Lugo (W,1-2) 1000010 5.84
HBP - Abercrombie (by Doug Waechter)
Pitches-Strikes - Doug Waechter 100-69, Chad Orvella 33-19, Ruddy Lugo 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Waechter 4-11, Chad Orvella 1-1, Ruddy Lugo 1-1
Batters Faced - Doug Waechter 27, Chad Orvella 8, Ruddy Lugo 3
Game Information
Attendance - 14837
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Jerry Meals