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Astros Host Marlins For Home Opener

Florida Marlins (3-3) at Houston Astros (1-5), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Florida - Ricky Nolasco (0-0, 2.57) Houston - Wandy Rodriguez (0-1, 15.75)

(Sports Network) - Steady lefty Wandy Rodriguez can atone for a poor first start and establish a win streak for the Houston Astros at the same time tonight when they lift the lid on the home portion of their schedule against the Florida Marlins at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros were on the road for their initial six games of the season, finally winning for the first time on Thursday in Cincinnati when Matt Downs' two-out double in the top of the ninth lifted them to a 3-2 win.

Brett Wallace started things with a single and Humberto Quintero's base hit two outs later put runners on first and second before Downs laced a run- scoring double to left.

Brandon Lyon - charged with a blown save in the season opener at Philadelphia - came on for the home half and retired the first two batters before Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto both singled.

The right-hander then got pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez to ground into a forceout to end the game and notch his first save of the season. Fernando Abad (1-0) earned the win for throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Hunter Pence and Wallace also knocked in a run for the Astros and starter Brett Myers gave up two runs on six hits and three walks in a 6 1/3-inning start. The right-hander struck out four.

Rodriguez was shellacked for nine hits and seven runs over just four innings in his inaugural appearance of the season, a 9-4 loss at Philadelphia on April 2. In that game, the 32-year-old Dominican struck out five batters and walked one and emerged with an ugly 15.75 earned run average.

He's fared well in eight career appearances against Florida, going 3-2 with a 2.79 ERA, 33 strikeouts and 16 walks in 38 2/3 innings while permitting a .241 opposition batting average.

Rodriguez, who reached the majors in 2005, has won double-digit games three times in six seasons and recorded exactly nine wins in each of the other three years.

Californian-born righty Ricky Nolasco goes for the Marlins after a tough-luck no-decision in his initial start on April 2 against the New York Mets. The 28- year-old scattered seven hits and allowed two runs in seven innings, walked none and struck out four in a game Florida eventually lost, 6-4.

Nolasco is 3-1 in five lifetime matchups with Houston, in which he's allowed 24 hits and 19 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings.

Nolasco won 14 games in 26 starts for the Marlins in 2010, one win off his career-best of 15, established in 2008.

On Thursday in Miami, Adam LaRoche hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the 11th inning, lifting the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 victory over the Marlins in the finale of a three-game series at Sun Life Stadium.

Florida split its six meetings with the Astros.

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