ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Marlins lost both their manager and another game.James Shields threw a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts in his second consecutive complete game, Casey Kotchman had a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays handed the reeling Marlins their 10th loss in a row, 2-1 on Sunday.
Florida manager Edwin Rodriguez unexpectedly resigned before the game, and the last-place Marlins dropped to 1-18 in June. Bench coach Brandon Hyde managed Sunday, but the club will begin a search for an interim manager.
Rodriguez, the first Puerto Rican-born manager in major league history, said it was a difficult decision to leave, given the “positive way the organisation is moving, a new ballpark next season and the young core of players.”
“I can’t say enough about the effort that this staff and these players have put into this season,” he said in a statement released by the team. “I could tell that they continued to give 100 per cent effort each and every day on the field. I wish this organisation and players nothing but success in their futures.”
Shields (7-4) has a major league-best five complete games this season, and was coming off a 4-0 shutout over AL East-leading Boston on Tuesday.
Matt Joyce singled to open the eighth against Ryan Webb (1-4) and went to second when the reliever threw out Evan Longoria at first after misplaying a potential double-play grounder. Kotchman then made it 2-1 with his opposite-field single down the third-base line off Randy Choate.
Marlins starter Chris Volstad is winless in 10 straight games — including six losses. He gave up one run and six hits in seven innings. His last win came on April 26 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Potential candidates to become Florida’s next manager include special assistant to the owner Jack McKeon, who led the Marlins to a World Series championship in 2003.
“It’s been extremely frustrating for everyone,” president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “I think everyone here knows what is going on — the way we’ve played, the way we’ve performed. It’s tough on everyone, especially (Rodriguez).”
Gaby Sanchez put the Marlins ahead 1-0 on a first-inning sacrifice fly. Tampa Bay tied it when Ben Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly in the third.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but failed to score when Sam Fuld hit into a double play.
Shields retired 13 in a row before Omar Infante hit a one-out double in the fifth.
Fuld took away an extra-base hit from Infante when he made a diving catch on the warning track for the first out in the eighth. The left fielder also ended the inning with another diving effort on Dewayne Wise’s soft liner.
NOTES: Rodriguez was at the ballpark and talked with individual players in the manager’s office before the game. He did not hold a session with reporters. … The Rays are 18-18 at home and 21-15 on the road. … Florida OF Mike Stanton was out of the lineup for the second straight game due to a right eye infection. … Longoria made two errors at third base. One came when he missed a grounder and the other on an errant throw to first.
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