Devil Rays 4, Marlins 3

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Russell Branyan hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 4-3 victory over the Florida Marlins on Saturday night.

Branyan’s shot off Logan Kensing (0-1) drove in Travis Lee, who had opened the inning with a double. 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.

The Marlins have lost six straight, and Saturday was the fourth time in the last five games Florida has led in the ninth only to wind up losing. The other three defeats came in extra innings.

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.

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

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.

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: 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.

AP-ES-05-20-06 2220EDT

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