Marlins move closer to first-place Phillies with shutout win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Chris Volstad treated a playoff-type atmosphere like just another start in the Southern League.

Volstad tossed six sharp innings and combined with four relievers on a four-hitter, leading the Florida Marlins to a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.

The Marlins, who have the smallest payroll in the majors, took two of three from the NL East-leading Phillies to move within 1½ games of first place. The New York Mets are two games behind.

Volstad (3-2) didn't allow a hit until pitcher Cole Hamels lined a single to center with two outs in the fifth. The 21-year-old right-hander gave up three hits and walked four in his fifth career start.

"One thing I try to do is to keep it even keel, good or bad," Volstad said.

A first-round pick in 2005, Volstad came up in July after going 4-4 with a 3.36 ERA at Double-A Carolina. His poise and calm demeanor impressed manager Fredi Gonzalez.

"He's 21 years old and he pitched like a guy who's been around 10-12 years," Gonzalez said. "He had some big outs he had to get against good hitters and he didn't get spooked."

Joe Nelson worked the seventh, Arthur Rhodes and Matt Lindstrom combined for three outs in the eighth and Kevin Gregg finished for his 25th save in 31 chances.

Hamels (9-8) again was a hard-luck loser. The left-hander allowed three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven. He hasn't won since July 3.

"I'm aware of the lack of support," Hamels said. "Sometimes it puts pressure on me. Sometimes you get wins with your eyes closed and sometimes there are games like this."

Despite a 3.35 ERA, Hamels barely has a winning record because of poor run support. He's allowed three runs or less eight times without getting a win, including losses of 1-0 and 2-0. Hamels is 0-4 with four no-decisions in those starts. He has a 3.19 ERA in his last six losses.

The Phillies were second in the NL in runs, but they do most of their scoring in bunches. Philadelphia has scored three runs or less in 39.5 percent of its games, going 9-36.

"Some days we score a lot of runs, some days not," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We've just got to get on a roll."

Florida led 2-0 after six innings. Cody Ross hit a two-out double in the second and scored on Matt Treanor's single to right, and Jeremy Hermida singled and scored on Josh Willingham's two-out double in the sixth.

First baseman Ryan Howard's 14th error contributed to Florida's third run. With two on and one out in the seventh, Howard threw wide to second base on pinch-hitter Mike Jacobs' grounder to first. Ryan Madson replaced Hamels and Hanley Ramirez drove in a run on a groundout to shortstop for a 3-0 lead.

Volstad breezed through the first four innings, then pitched out of jams in the fifth and sixth. He retired Shane Victorino on a fly to right to leave two on in the fifth.

Volstad got defensive help in the sixth. After Chase Utley led off with a single, center fielder Ross made a headfirst, diving catch on Howard's liner. Geoff Jenkins blooped a two-out single to left, but Volstad got Eric Bruntlett on a slow roller to first.

The Phillies stranded Victorino's leadoff double in the eighth off Rhodes.

"We're definitely not going out there trying to lose or trying not to hit," Victorino said.

Game notes
Philadelphia acquired left-hander Scott Eyre from the Cubs for a minor-leaguer. ... A crowd of 45,521 was the largest at Citizens Bank Park this season and the fifth-most in the ballpark's five-year history. ... The Phillies had homered in 14 straight games. The club record is 16. ... The Marlins didn't hit a homer in the three-game series. ... Utley extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Volstad hasn't allowed a homer this season in 124 2/3 innings in the minors and majors. ... The Phillies have been shut out seven times this season after getting blanked a combined six times over the previous two years.