Ricky Nolasco overcame a rough start, pitched six innings and even drove in the tiebreaking runs. Then, on the verge of a Marlins record for career victories, he could only watch.
"I was on the edge of my seat," Nolasco said.
Left fielder Chris Coghlan preserved the lead with a spectacular catch in the eighth inning, Heath Bell escaped a jam in the ninth and Miami edged the Colorado Rockies 7-6.
With that, on his third try, Nolasco became the Marlins' sole leader in career wins, improving his record to 69-53.
"I'm glad we were able to bend but not break," said Nolasco (5-2). "A lot of guys said congratulations. I appreciate that. Thanks to the Marlins organization for giving me the opportunity to be here this long."
Nolasco had been tied with Dontrelle Willis for the most victories.
"A lot of great pitchers went through this organization," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He should be proud."
Nolasco overcame a three-run first inning by the Rockies. He broke a tie in the third with a two-run double off Juan Nicasio (2-2) that put Miami ahead to stay.
The Rockies (15-27) lost their sixth game in a row and are off to their worst start since 1995.
"It's extremely frustrating for all of us," manager Jim Tracy said. "To sit here and know the kind of effort they're putting forward and getting frustrated, it's painful."
The Marlins (24-19) tied the franchise record for victories in May. Their 16-5 record this month is the best in the majors, and they're five games above .500 for the first time this season.
Miami doesn't have pennant fever yet, however. The crowd of 22,242 was the smallest so far at the city's new ballpark.
Coghlan preserved a one-run lead when he made a running, leaping catch to rob Marco Scutaro of a hit, ending the eighth and stranding a man at third.
Bell gave up a leadoff double in the ninth, then retired Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton for his seventh save in 11 chances.
"I gave up that double and it was like, 'All right, I've got to make some good pitches here,'" Bell said. "Fortunately I did."
On Monday, Miami trailed 4-0 in the first inning and won 6-4. A succession of bloopers and bleeders helped Colorado score three runs in the first against Nolasco.
"He was a little unlucky," Guillen said. "They put the ball in play but didn't hit it that hard."
Nicasio couldn't hold the lead. He gave up six runs, five earned, in five innings and remained winless in his past four starts.
"I think where we messed up once again was early in the game with the starting pitching," Tracy said. "We've played two games in this series, and we've score seven runs in the top first inning, and let them right back in within a few hitters."
Hanley Ramirez had three of the Marlins' 12 hits and drove in two runs.
"We're starting to swing the bats more," Nolasco said. "It's a lot easier to pitch when you have confidence your hitters are going to give you some runs. Everything is kind of clicking for us now."
For the second night in a row, the Marlins won despite stranding 13 runners. Errors by shortstop Tulowitzki and catcher Wilin Rosario led to a pair of unearned Miami runs.
Michael Cuddyer went 3 for 3 with a walk for the Rockies, and Rosario drove in two runs. But Colorado went only 4 for 18 with runners in scoring position.
Miami's comeback began with two runs in the first. Bryan Petersen hit an RBI triple and came home on a single by Ramirez.
Giancarlo Stanton doubled home the tying run in the third. With two out, Nolasco lined a 3-2 pitch for his first extra-base hit this year.
NOTES: Rockies 2B Jonathan Herrera departed in the sixth inning with a tight right hamstring and might go on the disabled list, Tracy said. ... Marlins LF Austin Kearns left the game in the fourth with a tight right hamstring. His status is day to day. ... Stanton is the fourth player to hit four grand slams before his 23rd birthday, according to STATS LLC. The other players were Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews and Ken Griffey Jr. "That's good company," Stanton said. ... 2B Omar Infante rejoined the Marlins after flying to Venezuela for a family funeral, but he was held out of the lineup. ... Right-handed hitters are batting only .150 this year against winless RHP Alex White, scheduled to start Wednesday for the Rockies. Left-handed hitters are batting .326.