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Bour, Realmuto to debut as Marlins go for 12th interleague win in a row Thursday

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Marlins will send Jacob Turner to the mound Thursday afternoon in search of both the team's first season-series sweep over the Rays since 2005 and the club's 12th interleague victory in a row.

And Turner will have two rookies in the lineup making their MLB debuts trying to help guide him there.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto, called up for the concussed Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Sunday, will start behind the plate and bat eighth. Justin Bour, a power-hitting left-handed bat called up to take the vacated spot of Derek Dietrich, will hit seventh and serve as the designated hitter.

"More excited than butterflies," Realmuto said Wednesday knowing he would probably start Thursday. "I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, kind of what you dream about growing up as a kid. Hopefully I can go out there and play well and help the team win."

The Marlins' current 11-game interleague winning streak is the longest active in the majors and 2 shy of the all-time mark of 13 by the Yankees (2003-04) and Rays (2004) and is the longest by a National League team since St. Louis won 12 in a row from 2004 to 2005.

During their streak, the Marlins beat the Royals twice on the road, swept the Tigers to end the 2013 season in three games, swept the Mariners at home in April in three games and now have taken three from the Rays in the annual Citrus Series.

KOEHLER SURVIVES ROUGH START

Tom Koehler was wearing the look of relief on his face after Wednesday's 5-4 victory at Tropicana Field. 

His first inning of work was flat out miserable. He only threw four of his first 15 pitches for strikes. Two of those strikes ended up in the cheap seats. Ben Zobrist put one beyond the right field wall for a two-run homer. Longoria then drilled another over the left field wall -- a solo shot -- five pitches later. 

"I wish I could tell you [what happened there] if I knew I would have fixed it," Koehler said. "Just missing to the lefties a little bit up and away. I think we were just trying to be a little took quick and a little too fine instead of just challenging them, allowing the stuff to play. You're facing a big league lineup and when you fall behind guys it makes it little bit easier to hit and that's what happened there."

Koehler needed 37 pitches in all to get through the first -- only 51 fewer pitches than Henderson Alvarez used to toss a complete game shutout against these same Rays on Tuesday.

The rest of the night wasn't any easier for Koehler, but he battled through it. 

After giving up a pair of leadoff walks to the last two Rays hitters in the fourth, he struckout David DeJesus swinging and then got Zobrist to bounce into an inning-ending double play. He used another inning-ending double play off the bat of Desmond Jennings to get through the fifth.

"Just got to credit the way the guys played behind me defensively," Koehler said. "They made some great plays at short, turned some real quality double plays. We were able to combat a walk with a double play. It allows you the chance to win a ballgame by at least stretching it to the fifth.

"Obviously not an ideal game. But games like this are sometimes a little bit more rewarding than when you go eight shutout because you kind of realize you got to put everything you have out there and just try to keep the team in it."

THURSDAY'S LINEUP

> Marlins (31-28): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Justin Bour DH, 8. J.T. Realmuto C, 9. Adeiny Hechavarria SS. RHP Jacob Turner.

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A Realist

Yay! Looks like Bour can hit. Trade Garrett Jones :)

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