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Astros Try To Avoid Four Game Sweep With Wandy On The Mound

(Sports Network) – After a brutal stretch that saw them lose 23 of 26 games, the Florida Marlins are starting to string together wins. However, they will still find themselves in last place in the NL East at the All-Star break.

Ricky Nolasco tossed his sixth career complete game and Logan Morrison had three hits, including a bases-loaded triple, in Florida’s 6-1 victory over the Houston Astros last night. The teams conclude the series today when the Marlins will try for their first four-game sweep of the Astros since August 25-28, 1995 in Miami.

Hanley Ramirez drove in two runs and John Buck homered for the Marlins, who won their fourth straight game to tie a season-best. They’re 8-3 in their last 11 contests, directly after enduing a 3-23 stretch, which led to the resignation of manager Edwin Rodriguez. Now, 80-year-old manager Jack McKeon has watched his team catch the winning feeling again.

Nolasco (6-5) scattered seven hits, walked a batter and piled up eight strikeouts to win for just the second time in his last nine starts. He’s 5-1 lifetime against the Astros.

“That should be the goal of every pitcher that goes out there,” McKeon said. “I like to see those guys. That should be charging up the rest of the staff, to go nine.”

Brett Myers (3-9) continued his struggles. The Houston starter was lifted after surrendering four hits and six runs — five earned — over 4 1/3 innings. He also walked four batters, including one to Ramirez with the bases loaded in the fifth inning just prior to Morrison’s triple.

Chris Johnson had two of Houston’s hits, but the Astros lost for the eighth time in nine games.

“He was hard to square up tonight,” Johnson said of Nolasco. “He throws a lot of different kind of pitches. He mixes it up and works both sides of the plate. He throws strikes early. He got in a rhythm early tonight so it was tough for us.”

Chris Volstad, who is coming off a horrendous start, will be on the mound today for the Marlins. The right-hander was pounded for nine hits and seven runs over four innings of a 14-2 loss. He’s 2-0 with a 4.38 ERA in four starts against the Astros.

Countering for the Astros is Wandy Rodriguez, who is coming off a 5-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. In that game, he allowed eight hits and five runs over six innings. The Astros have won seven of his last 10 starts. He’s 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA in nine games (7 starts) vs. the Marlins.

Florida has won 13 of its last 15 at home vs. Houston and eight of the last 10 overall in this series.

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