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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