ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.- Rookie Scott Olsen was impressive in his major league debut for the Florida Marlins. Filling in for the injured Josh Beckett, Olsen (1-0) allowed two runs – one earned – and four hits in 5 2-3 innings to help the Marlins defeat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-2 on Saturday.

for the sixth straight time.

The Marlins purchased the 21-year-old left-hander’s contract from Double-A Carolina on Thursday night, then staked him to a 4-0 lead before his first big-league pitch.

Carlos Delgado, Mike Lowell, Paul Lo Duca and Juan Encarnacion drove in runs in the first inning off Casey Fossum (3-6), and that was more than enough support for Olsen.

The Devil Rays were limited to three singles and an unearned run that scored on a double-play grounder until Eduardo Perez hit a solo homer off the rookie with two outs in the sixth, trimming Tampa Bay’s deficit to 4-2.

Florida added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single and Delgado’s sacrifice fly off Dewon Brazelton.

Fossum was coming off his best performance of the season, a seven-inning stint in which he yielded just one run and three hits in a 5-1 victory at Yankee Stadium last Monday night. He gave up more than that in the first six batters against the Marlins.

Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo began the game with singles, and Fossum allowed Lowell’s RBI grounder and run-scoring singles to Delgado, Lo Duca and Encarnacion before the inning was over. Lo Duca finished with three hits and one RBI, and Alex Gonzalez went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games.

Olsen, 6-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Carolina, allowed a leadoff single to Carl Crawford in the first and two-out single to Alex S. Gonzalez in the second before handling the first jam of his career with the poise of a more experienced pitcher.

The Devil Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the third on Lowell’s fielding error, Perez’s bloop single and a walk. Olsen escaped with minimal damage, allowing an unearned run when Damon Hollins grounded into a double play and striking out Gonzalez to finish the inning with a 4-1 lead.

Fossum allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings before being replaced by Brazelton, making his first appearance for Tampa Bay since May 11, when the Devil Rays’ opening-day starter pitched poorly against the Chicago White Sox and was demoted to the minor leagues.

Brazelton refused to report to Triple-A Durham, though, and went into hiding for more than three weeks – an unexcused absence that he still has yet to explain. The Devil Rays recalled him from Double-A Montgomery on Friday.

Notes: Beckett is on 15-day disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger. He threw a bullpen session Saturday and could return to the rotation next Thursday against Atlanta. … The Devil Rays have lost a season-high five straight at home. … Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff did not start for the third straight night due to a bruised right knee. He pinch-hit in the ninth inning and grounded to second to end the game.

AP-ES-06-25-05 2102EDT


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