Marlins avert sweep with 5-1 win over Astros

Published April 22, 2010

| Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — Anibal Sanchez pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Cody Ross drove in two runs and the Florida Marlins snapped Houston's four-game winning streak with a 5-1 win over the Astros on Thursday night.

Sanchez (1-1) allowed nine hits in 6 2-3 innings and struck out only one, but Houston stranded eight runners and didn't score until the seventh. Chris Leroux pitched a scoreless eighth and Leo Nunez struck out the side in the ninth.

The Marlins capitalized on errors by left fielder Carlos Lee and third baseman Geoff Blum. Lee's miscue in the first inning helped Florida take a 3-0 lead against Felipe Paulino (0-2).

Chris Coghlan walked and Hanley Ramirez singled to start Florida's early rally. Jorge Cantu singled to extend his hitting streak to 20 games. Lee charged in, but the ball slipped under his glove, allowing Coghlan and Ramirez to score.

Cantu took second on the play, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Dan Uggla's groundout to make it 3-0. Paulino escaped more trouble when shortstop Tommy Manzella made a spectacular diving catch on John Baker's blooper to end the inning.

Paulino settled down after the 29-pitch inning and struck out the side in the fifth. He reached 100 pitches in the sixth, though, and Florida added to its lead.

With one out, Cantu reached on a sharp grounder that Blum couldn't handle. Uggla followed with a double to left, prompting a mound visit by Houston pitching coach Brad Arnsberg.

Baker walked to load the bases for Ross, who drove in two with a single up the middle. Gaby Sanchez doubled and Houston manager Brad Mills brought in Jeff Fulchino. Paulino threw 109 pitches.

Humberto Quintero led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and Sanchez hit Manzella with a pitch, finally showing signs of fatigue. Pinch-hitter Cory Sullivan grounded into a fielder's choice before Michael Bourn singled to drive in Houston's only run.

One out later, Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez brought in left-hander Renyel Pinto. Switch-hitting Lance Berkman grounded out in his first right-handed at-bat of the season.

NOTES: Cantu has a 16-game hitting streak, the longest to open a season since 2008, when Nate McLouth hit safely in his first 19 games. ... The Astros wore green caps to commemorate Earth Day. ... Astros reliever Alberto Arias is out for the season after right shoulder surgery on Thursday. Arias, 26, appeared in three spring training games before he was placed on the disabled list March 26. General manager Ed Wade said the surgery repaired Arias' rotator cuff and labrum and removed calcium deposits.

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