Olsen goes eight strong as Marlins shut down Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Scott Olsen came within three outs of stopping a record streak the Florida Marlins would rather forget.

Olsen pitched eight strong innings and appeared to be on his way to Florida's first complete game in 267 tries, the longest drought in major-league history. But the left-hander was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth as the Marlins added a couple insurance runs Wednesday for a 5-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Mike Jacobs and Hanley Ramirez homered to back Olsen, who hasn't thrown a complete game in 87 career starts, the ninth-longest streak in big-league history.

"We were in a situation to add on some runs," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said in explaining why he pinch hit for Olsen with two outs in a 4-1 game. "You need to do it."

Had Olsen's spot in the lineup not come up when the Marlins sent eight batters to the plate, Gonzalez said he would have sent the left-hander out to pitch the ninth.

"He understood that," Gonzalez said. "He was in the dugout cheering."

Olsen (5-4) allowed one run and four hits while throwing 97 pitches through eight innings.

"You have to play for runs," said Olsen, who was in the on-deck circle when he was called back for pinch-hitter Wes Helms. "Unless the guy before me hit a three-run home run, I knew I was coming out."

Anibal Sanchez pitched Florida's last complete game on Sept. 16, 2006, a 2-1 loss at Atlanta.

The Marlins scored twice in the ninth after loading the bases with one out. John Baker hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Joe Thatcher for a 4-1 lead. After Alfredo Amezaga walked to load the bases again, Gonzalez sent up Helms to bat for Olsen. Thatcher walked Helms to force in a run.

Baker, who made his major-league debut at catcher after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday, was told of the Marlins' record-setting streak. His response?

"I should have hit a grand slam instead of a sacrifice fly," a smiling Baker said.

Olsen cruised through the first eight innings, allowing only a homer to Scott Hairston leading off the sixth. The Padres advanced just one runner to second base in the first five innings before Hairston's home run.

Olsen also retired his final eight batters.

"My ball was down in the zone. I was throwing my off-speed stuff for strikes," he said.

Joe Nelson replaced Olsen and allowed Chase Headley's RBI single in the ninth before Kevin Gregg got two outs for his 17th save in 23 chances.

Olsen broke his career-worst winless streak of 11 games, during which he was 0-3 with a 5.31 ERA. He had to weather a hard-hit line drive off his right leg in the fourth inning to earn the victory. The ball ricocheted to third baseman Jorge Cantu, who threw out Kevin Kouzmanoff. Olsen was knocked down by the line drive and stayed on the grass for about a minute before continuing.

Olsen's last victory was a 2-0 win over Milwaukee on May 6.

"He pitched effectively," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He pounded the strike zone. He did a good job of keeping the ball down and away from us."

Florida won the three-game series against the Padres, only its second winning road series in the last nine since May 12.

San Diego, which snapped a nine-game home losing streak on Tuesday night, lost for the 17th time in 22 games. The Padres (36-56) scored two runs or fewer for the 40th time this season. San Diego is the second-lowest scoring team in the majors behind Washington.

Ramirez hit his 22nd homer, a solo shot with one out in the third for a 1-0 lead. Ramirez went 3-for-5 and was robbed of a hit by Hairston on a catch against the fence in the eighth inning. Ramirez, an NL All-Star starter, leads all major-league shortstops in home runs.

After Josh Willingham singled leading off the fourth, Jacobs followed with his 19th homer off Cha Seung Baek (2-4) to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead.

"They can hit the ball, that's for sure," Hairston said. "They have power and speed. They're a good, young team."

Hairston hit his 14th home run to cut the lead to 3-1. Hairston, who homered in Tuesday night's 10-1 win over Florida, has five home runs in his last 18 at-bats.

Olsen was coming off his worst outing of the season in an 18-17 loss at Colorado. He got a no-decision despite allowing nine runs -- eight earned -- and 11 hits over five innings.

Baek gave up three runs and six hits in five innings.

Game notes
Florida optioned right-hander Logan Kensing to Triple-A Albuquerque after the game. The team will make a corresponding move before playing Thursday night at the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... The Marlins have homered in 11 straight games, one shy of the team record. Florida, which leads the majors with 130 home runs, has homered in 12 consecutive games twice. The last time was last season from Aug. 18-29. ... Hairston's home run eclipsed his career high of 13, set in 2004 with Arizona. ... San Diego right fielder Brian Giles' sore right hamstring kept him out of the starting lineup again.