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Pence Homer Helps Astros Avoid Sweep, Win 2-1

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Hunter Pence's solo homer in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the difference, as the Houston Astros edged the Florida Marlins, 2-1, in the finale of a three-game set at Sun Life Stadium.

Pence also added a sacrifice fly and Michael Bourn went 2-for-3 with a run scored for Houston, which was able to salvage a victory in the series and has split its last six overall.

Wilton Lopez (5-0) earned the win for tossing two scoreless innings in relief of Nelson Figueroa, who got the starting nod for Houston and yielded one run on four hits, struck out seven and walked one in six frames.Brandon Lyon notched his sixth save of the season by throwing a scoreless ninth.

"If I throw 95 pitches that means I'm doing my job and keeping us in the ball game," Figueroa said. "It was good to get rolling in the heat and try and make the innings as quick as possible."

Gaby Sanchez hit a solo homer for the Marlins, who had a five-game winning streak halted. Cody Ross chipped in with two hits in defeat.

Jose Veras (2-1) took the loss for allowing Pence's homer. Florida's Andrew Miller, making his first major league start of the 2010 campaign, worked five solid innings, allowing one run on three hits with three walks and struck out three.

"You're always a little bit nervous before a start, but I felt pretty good, felt really prepared for it and to go out there and have the confidence," Miller said. "I felt confident and it carried over for me."

With the game deadlocked at 1-1, Veras came on for the top of the eighth and retired the first batter before Pence hit a fastball that just cleared the left field wall to put Houston in front.

Brad Davis singled to start the home eighth and Wes Helms bunted into a fielder's choice. Lopez then retiredHanley Ramirez on a 6-4-3 double play to keep it a 2-1 game.

Lyon came in for Lopez in the top of the ninth and hit Sanchez with a pitch with one out. However, the closer struck out Dan Uggla for the second out. Ross then reached with an infield single to put runners on first and second, but pinch-hitter Mike Stanton flied out to left to end the game.

Houston stranded a runner in the first inning and two more in the second before opening the scoring in the third. Pence's sac fly chased in Bourn, who reached on a bunt single, stole second and went to third on a ground ball.

The Marlins had runners on first and third with nobody out in the fifth, but came up empty after Figueroa gotEmilio Bonifacio and Davis to pop out and fanned pinch-hitter Hector Luna.

Sanchez's two-out shot to left in the sixth evened things at 1-1. Bourn then struck out with men on first and second and two outs in the seventh.

Houston took two of three from the Marlins back in April...The Astros snapped a six-game road losing streak...Houston went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven, while Florida finished 0-for-4 with RISP and left five...After the game it was announced that San Francisco had been awarded Ross after claiming him off waivers from Florida.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.