SEATTLE -- Chris Volstad had gone nearly two months between victories for Florida. It took a home game in Seattle for him to end his drought and get the Marlins their third win in June.
Volstad had lost four of his last five outings and had a 5.13 ERA in June heading into his start against the Mariners on Saturday night. This time, Volstad got ahead of hitters and forced Seattle into 14 groundball outs as he pitched into the seventh inning to win for the first time since April 26 in the Marlins' 4-2 win."He made them hit the ball," catcher John Buck said. "It wasn't ball one, ball two, 3-1 (count) and lay one in there. That is in the past."In the game moved from Miami because of an upcoming concert at the Marlins' stadium, Volstad (3-7) batted for himself because the game was played under NL rules. His RBI single in the sixth inning scored Buck and gave the Marlins an insurance run late in taking a 4-1 lead.He also kept the struggling Mariners to two runs on five hits before leaving with two outs in the seventh."He went right after them tonight and showed us; this is the way I want him to pitch," manager Jack McKeon said. "Hopefully the six innings will translate into eight innings and maybe complete games."Leo Nunez pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 21st save."It's pretty hard to control wins and losses," Volstad said. "I'm happy with the outing. The way I've been feeling the last two starts as far as working the ball down in the zone, a lot of ground balls and the infield doing a great job."The Marlins jumped all over Jason Vargas (5-5) for three runs in the first inning. Hanley Ramirez, who entered with a .341 batting average against left-handers, drove the first pitch he saw from Vargas into the gap in right-center field for a two-run, ground-rule double.Mike Stanton followed with a sacrifice fly."The hitters did a great job," Volstad said. "They were swinging early and attacking. It's a good team win. I hope we can start going a little bit."Vargas gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings for Seattle. His first 13 pitches of the night were all in the strike zone, and the Marlins' hitters took advantage."The only pitch I really felt I missed was that ball Hanley hit into the gap," Vargas said. "Other than that I felt that I was making the pitches that I wanted to, they were just hitting them."With the Mariners trailing 4-1 in the top of the seventh, Chone Figgins delivered a sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded that scored Dustin Ackley from third and chased Volstad. Randy Choate loaded them again when he hit pinch hitter Justin Smoak with a pitch, but Ichiro Suzuki hit a meek chopper to third base to end the inning.Edward Mujica pitched a scoreless eighth before Nunez came on.The Mariners didn't get a baserunner until the fourth inning when Wes Helms bobbled a one-hopper for an error that allowed Suzuki to reach base. It was Volstad's only blemish through the first four innings.Carlos Peguero got Seattle on the board in the top of the fifth inning with a line-drive home run that barely cleared the fence down the right-field line for the Mariners' first hit.
Marlins OF Logan Morrison was not in the starting lineup tonight. It was the first game he didn't start since returning from the disabled list with a left foot strain on May 13. Morrison's average has dropped from .327 to .267 over the last 40 games since his return to the lineup. ... OF Emilio Bonifacio moved from center to left field with OF Dewayne Wise getting the start in center. ... Smoak was a late scratch from the lineup with an illness. Adam Kennedy replaced him at first base with Figgins inserted in the lineup at third base.