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What's new: The Marlins (31-26) had been one of the hottest teams. After starting 8-14, they went a majors-best 21-9 in May. But this week they were swept at home by the Braves, their first series loss since April 24-26. SS Jose Reyes, signed during the offseason, has been on a tear; he had a 15-game hitting streak end Wednesday. RF Giancarlo Stanton has power (14 homers, 41 RBIs), and OF Justin Ruggiano (5-for-13, one homer) has provided a spark since being called up from Triple A on May 27. RHP Heath Bell has returned to the closer's role after a brief demotion.

Key stat: Miami leads the National League with 39 quality starts.

Connections: Ruggiano, LHP Randy Choate and RHP Chad Gaudin are former Rays, as is manager Ozzie Guillen. Rays RHP Burke Badenhop is a former Marlin and INF Sean Rodriguez a Miami native.

Series history: The Marlins lead overall 42-37, including 25-17 in Miami. But the Rays have won three of the past four season series, including 4-2 in 2011.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Up next: Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins 06/07/12 [Last modified: Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:45pm]
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  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.

  5. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears


    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”