All Marlins manager Mike Redmond said he told J.T. Realmuto and Justin Bour to do before they made their major-league debuts Thursday was “relax, have fun” and to make sure “to get that first hit out of the way as soon as possible.”
The rookies did their part, but the skipper didn’t heed his own advice. Redmond got himself tossed by first-base umpire Bill Miller after a heated exchange over a ball down the first-base line in the seventh inning.
By then, though, the two rookies and a potent Marlins lineup had done all it needed to do to secure an 11-6 victory, and the first season sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays since 2005 in front of 10,442 fans at Tropicana Field.
“It’s not easy sweeping a team, and they put up a good fight,” Redmond said.
Giancarlo Stanton smashed his National League-leading 17th home run of the season and the Marlins (32-28) matched a season high with 17 hits. They got four from Casey McGehee, three from Marcell Ozuna — including his 11th home run of the season — and two hits each from their two rookies, who combined to drive in as many runs (four) as Ozuna did.
Jacob Turner didn’t have an easier afternoon, giving up eight hits and five earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. But he picked up his first career road victory in his 19th try.
“It’s kind of a fluky thing anyway, but it’s good to get the win,” Turner said. “I was definitely tired of hearing about that.”
Realmuto, called up on Sunday from Double A Jacksonville to replace the injured Jarrod Saltamacchia and provide depth behind the plate, drove in three runs to become only the second Marlins player ever to drive in at least three in their big-league debut (Jeremy Hermida had a pinch-hit grand slam in his debut Aug. 31, 2005).
He also became only the 37th player to drive in at least three runs in their debut in National League history.
Although his parents and girlfriend were in the stands, Realmuto said he never got to make eye-contact with them.
“There was too much running through my head,” he said. “But you can’t have much better of a night from my standpoint. It was nice to get out there and help the team win a ballgame.”
Early on it looked like it might be a long day for the Marlins. Rays starter Jake Odorizzi struck out seven of the first 12 batters he faced. But the Marlins strung together five consecutive two-out singles in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead.
McGehee got the rally started and scored the first run on Ozuna’s single to left. After Bour reached on a softly hit ball to second base to load the bases, Realmuto lined a single to center to score two more runs.
“I never thought my first [hit] was going to be an infield single. But I’m not complaining at all,” said Bour, a 6-4, 250-pound first baseman whom the Marlins took in the minors phase of December’s Rule V draft. “I’m just happy to be a part of a win.”
After the Rays tied it at 3 with a pair of solo home runs by rookie Kevin Kiermaier and Ben Zobrist off Turner in the fifth, the Marlins once again strung a bunch of hits together to put up another three-run spot in the sixth.
McGehee ended Orodizzi’s night with a double off the wall in right before Garrett Jones, who had three hits, singled off reliever Jake McGee to end his streak of retiring 21 consecutive hitters.
After the Rays scored a pair of runs in the sixth to make it 6-5, Stanton crushed a 3-2 pitch from Brad Boxberger into the seats in left, collecting his NL-leading 52nd and 53rd RBI of the season. Bour later tacked on another run in the inning with a high-bouncing chopper into right field.
That turned out to be more than enough for the bullpen, which yielded only a run on five hits in recording the final 10 outs of the game.
After handing the Rays their 10th consecutive loss, the Marlins head to Wrigley Field for three afternoon games against the Cubs this weekend, tied with the Braves for first place again in the division. They have also won 12 interleague games in a row, one victory shy of the record of 13 set by the Yankees (2003-04) and Rays (2004).
“We’ve played a lot better the last few weeks on the road,” Redmond said. “That’s all I’m concerned about.”• Redmond said the reason he couldn’t challenge the call made by Miller in the seventh on Desmond Jennings’ double down the line was because it was in front of the umpire and not behind him. It was Redmond’s second ejection of the season.
“I clearly thought that ball was foul,” Redmond said. “And when I got out there I reaffirmed the fact it was foul.
“But I couldn’t convince him of that.”