MIAMI -- MIAMI -- A baseball rarity helped the Florida Marlins to their season-best fifth straight victory Saturday night.
Cody Ross and Wes Helms hit consecutive triples in a three-run sixth inning as the Marlins defeated the Houston Astros 6-3."You really can't explain it, back-to-back ones," Ross said. "That's kind of different, especially from me and Wes, but we'll take them. Any way we can get them."Ross' triple off Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez tied it at 2, while Helms' triple rolled past the bag at third, deep toward the foul area.Gaby Sanchez's two-run double in the seventh against reliever Mark Melancon increased Florida's lead to 5-2. Helms' two-out RBI single scored Sanchez."That was kind of the wind-out-of-the-sail type inning, when you add on runs," Ross said."We're playing well right now. Our pitching is keeping us in it and we're getting some timely hits and we're playing some good D. It's a pretty good combination."Marlins relievers Will Ohman and Jose Veras combined to pitch a scoreless seventh, and Clay Hensley also limited the Astros without a run in the eighth. Florida closer Leo Nunez, in a no-save situation, pitched the ninth and surrendered Angel Sanchez's RBI single."That was a great effort today and that's what we've been showing the last five games," Florida manager Edwin Rodriguez said.Chris Volstad (7-9) shut down the Astros after a difficult first inning in which he gave up two runs. He gave up the two runs on five hits and three walks in six-plus innings."I was able to settle down, the big thing was getting ahead in those middle innings," Volstad said. "After the first inning, that was a big adjustment and the main thing that helped me."I just have to keep working, keep attacking and make those adjustments in the game."Rodriguez (9-12) allowed three runs, seven hits, walked one and struck out 10 in six innings. The loss was his first in his last seven starts and snapped a three-game win streak."I feel I threw the ball very well," Rodriguez said. "The only one mistake was to Ross. I tried to throw a two-seamer away, but the ball went right down the middle."The Astros took an early lead on Carlos Lee's two-run single in the first."Scoring two runs in the first inning is pretty good but after that [Volstad] settled in and we weren't able to put together too many good at bats and he made some pitches," Houston's Hunter Pence said.Florida will go for the series sweep Sunday but not without scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco. The Marlins' leader with 14 wins this season sustained a partial tear in his right knee in-between a bullpen session Friday.Left-hander Andrew Miller, who was called up from Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday, will start in Nolasco's spot."It was kind of a freak thing, I moved my knee in a normal way and heard a pop," Nolasco said. "I'm just going to wait and see to how it reacts when the swelling is gone next week."I guess you just have to be smart about it. There's nothing you can do right now," he said.
The Marlins previously had season-best four-game win streaks from May 13-16 and Aug. 7-12. ... Dan Uggla was hitless in three at-bats ending his career-best 12-game hitting streak. ... Astros 2B Anderson Hernandez started and went 1 for 1 with a walk after being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. Hernandez was removed for pinch-hitter Jason Michaels in the seventh.