Ricky Nolasco tries to move one step closer to becoming the Marlins' all-time wins leader this evening when Miami opens a three-game set with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Nolasco couldn't get any closer on Thursday against the New York Mets, despite a terrific effort that saw him allow just a run and five hits in seven innings. He also fanned five and left with the lead, only to see closer Heath Bell implode in the ninth in a 3-2 loss.
"It's frustrating. But [Bell's] been here before," said Nolasco, who is 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA on the year. "He's going to be fine. He's going to figure it out. It's just something he's going to have to battle through, and he's going to be fine. We need him, and we need him bad."
Nolasco's 66 career wins are two shy of Dontrelle Willis' team record. He could get himself closer to that mark tonight, as he has won all three of his AT&T starts, while pitching to a splendid 0,76 ERA. In six starts overall versus the Giants, Nolasco has posted a 4-2 mark with a sparkling 1.61 ERA.
Miami could use a big start from Nolasco tonight after falling for the eighth time in nine tries on Monday with a 9-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Donnie Murphy and Austin Kearns each posted two-run blasts for the Marlins, while Mark Buehrle (1-4) served up eight hits and seven runs -- four earned -- over five full frames.
"Very lousy baseball, period," said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. "This game is about adjustments and we're not making any adjustments."
San Francisco, meanwhile, enters tonight's tilt on the heels of a series win over San Diego. In Sunday's rubber match, Madison Bumgarner spun 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball and the Giants pulled out a 4-1 win over the Padres.
Bumgarner (4-1) scattered six hits and punched out six to earn his fourth consecutive victory. Santiago Casilla worked around a two-out walk in the ninth to record his fourth save of the year.
"I'm not surprised to see what he's done this month because he's a great talent," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy about Bumgarner's recent success. "He knows what he wants to do out there and he's throwing a lot of strikes."
Pablo Sandoval belted a solo shot in the first and Joaquin Arias added a two- run triple in the sixth for the Giants, who have won three of four and five of their last eight.
Sixteen of the Giants' 22 games this season have been decided by three runs or fewer.
Tonight, San Francisco will hand the ball to righty Matt Cain, who suffered his first loss of the season his last time out. Cain was beaten by the Cincinnati Reds last Tuesday, surrendering three runs - two in the first - and five hit sin 6 1/3 innings to fall to 1-1 on the year to go along with a 2.37 ERA.
"He's one of the best in the league," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said of Cain. "If you don't get to him early, you saw how he was in the middle innings. He got that curveball over and was getting all of his pitches. He found his rhythm."
Cain has never faced the Marlins.
Miami was 4-2 last season versus the Giants.