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Florida Marlins: A complete performance to beat Rockies


Florida Marlins: A complete performance to beat Rockies
May 9, 2009 (Sun Sentinel delivered by Newstex ) --

Best game the Marlins have played in quite a while. Read all about it...

By Juan C. Rodriguez

STAFF WRITER

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DENVER ? Manager Fredi Gonzalez recently came across a replay of last seasons 18-17 July 4 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field. He couldnt watch beyond the sixth inning.

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Gonzalez would have a much easier time sitting through a re-broadcast of Fridays game in its entirety. The Marlins finally put together a complete performance, getting a quality start from Ricky Nolasco, another great bullpen effort and plenty runs to beat the Rockies 8-3.

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Winless since his April 6, Opening Day victory against the Nationals, Nolasco (2-3) exited after six innings with the Marlins up five. Four relievers made sure Nolasco got to see another ?W next to his name.

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Until Friday, Marlins starters had gone a club-record 20 straight games without a win. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no first-place team in major league history had endured such a streak. The Marlins had a four-game cushion when the streak began and led the National League by as many as five games before losing 13 of 17.

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?Thats something you guys like to write about, Gonzalez said, of the starters streak. ?As long as the Marlins win...Its nice for the starters to win. That means theyre going deep in ballgames, but it was good for us to win.

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Added Nolasco: ?Nobody wants to be recognized for something like that.

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How badly did the Marlins need a breakout offensive game? They entered the series ranked among the bottom quarter of the 16 NL teams in batting average (.238), on-base percentage (.322), and slugging (.382).

Through five innings Friday the Marlins had as many hits (12) as theyd totaled in any nine-inning game this season. Seven of those, all singles, came in the fifth as the Marlins hung a five-spot on the Rockies to break a 3-3 tie. Over their last six, just once had the Marlins scored as five runs.

They finished with a season-high 16 hits, including a season-best four from Hanley Ramirez. In going 4 for 5 with a homer (his third in two games), Ramirez extended his hitting streak to six and is 12 for his last 23 (.522), raising his average 24 points to .327.

John Baker and Jeremy Hermida each had two hits and combined for five RBI. Making his major league debut, Chris Coghlan went 2 for 4 with a run, a walk and a strikeout.

?It was good to be able to get it out of the way, Coghlan said, of his fifth-inning single. ?I was fortunate to put it in the right place. I hit it off the end of the bat. Fortunately it went far enough and in the hole enough to get through. I think its something Ill think about later on.

The four hits the Marlins mustered with runners in scoring position were the most theyve totaled in a game since April 22. They were 17 for their last 110 RISP (.155) entering the series.

?We need everybody to fire all at once, Gonzalez said.

Nolasco finished better than he started. Of the eight hits he allowed, five came during the first three innings and four of them went for extra bases. He retired 10 of the last 13 batters he faced during the 99-pitch outing.

Thats seven starts for Nolasco and he still hasnt completed more than six innings. Though he lowered his ERA from 7.03 to 6.63, Nolasco is pacing the NL with 30 runs, 28 earned runs and 51 hits allowed. Opponents are batting .319 off him.

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?Im not extremely satisfied with everything today, but its a start, Nolasco said.

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The Marlins took no chances in this once, using their top relievers, including closer Matt Lindstrom, to record the final nine outs (five via strikeout). The bullpen has allowed three runs over its last 29 2/3 innings, lowering its ERA more than a run from 4.99 to 3.82 during that stretch.

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Juan C. Rodriguez can be reached at jcrodriguez@SunSentinel.com or follow his Marlins updates on Twitter @JCRMarlinsbeat.

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Newstex ID: 34784751


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 9, 2009

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