Marlins, Rays kick off Citrus Series at the Trop

The Tampa Bay Rays aim to extend their recent domination of the Miami Marlins on Monday afternoon when the two Florida clubs kick off their annual Citrus Series.

The Rays will host the first two of four straight meetings, with the latter two encounters taking place in Miami stating on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay has won nine of the past 10 meetings in this series, going 5-1 at home during that span.

The Rays snapped a three-game skid with Sunday's 8-3 win over New York, moving to within five games of the Yankees for first place in the AL East.

Alex Cobb picked up the win, keeping the Yankees off the board for eight innings before giving up a homer to Brett Gardner to begin the ninth. Robinson Cano then ripped a single to center for the fifth hit off Cobb, who was removed after striking out Vernon Wells.

The frame got interesting when Cesar Ramos threw eight straight balls to load the bases before David Adams plated a pair of runs with a double to left. The rally was shut down by Joel Peralta, however, as the righty fanned Ichiro Suzuki and Jayson Nix to end the game.

James Loney and Sean Rodriguez clubbed two-run homers off New York starter CC Sabathia. Yunel Escobar went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI for Tampa Bay.

Not only will the Marlins try to find some success versus the Rays, but they'll also try to avoid a sixth straight loss. They were just swept in three games by the Chicago White Sox, falling 5-3 in Sunday's finale.

Marcell Ozuna, Justin Ruggiano and Nick Green each finished with two hits and an RBI, but Ozuna drew the frustration of manager Mike Redmond after getting tagged out at home in the sixth inning with the Marlins down by just a run.

Ruggiano hit a single in the frame and Ozuna looked to score from second base. However, White Sox catcher Hector Gimenez took a throw home from Alex Rios and tagged out a head-first sliding Ozuna.

"I don't know why we've lost the art of just sliding into home plate. I don't know why everything's got to be a sweep of the hand or a diving, sliding on your butt ... I don't know if that looks better on TV or what," Redmond, a former catcher said. "I was always just taught to slide straight into home plate and if you go in hard, you're going to be safe."

It was a rough game for Miami, which also saw starter Alex Sanabia depart after four innings due to an injured groin. He allowed four runs before his exit and the Marlins lost for the 12th time in 14 games.

A pair of youngsters square off in this opener as Miami's Jose Fernandez is countered by Jake Odorizzi of Tampa Bay.

Fernandez is 2-2 with a 3.31 earned run average through nine starts this season, but 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA in his past five. The 20-year-old has not factored into the outcome of his past two starts, including Tuesday at home versus Philadelphia.

The right-hander gave up just a run on five hits and a walk over five innings, logging 79 pitches before coming out for a pinch-hitter. The Phillies were able to get to the Marlins' bullpen and hand Miami a 7-3 loss.

"He kept us in the game, he gave us a chance to win," said Redmond. "He was running out of pitches there, we figured he did his job and we tried to score that run."

One of Fernandez's outings this season came against an American League foe as he lost to the Minnesota Twins on April 23. He yielded four runs over five innings of work.

Odorizzi, meanwhile, makes his second start in place of the injured David Price.

The 23-year-old made the first two starts of his career last season with Kansas City before being acquired as part of the package that sent James Shields to the Royals.

Odorizzi made his Rays debut on Monday in Toronto and did not factor into a 7-5 loss. The righty allowed three runs on five hits and a walk over five innings while striking out six.

"I saw the typical good composure, some nice stuff," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who also said Odorizzi's curveball was effective.

"It was really good. When you see good hitters take bad swings, you know how good the pitch is. I thought it was exceptional," Maddon said.