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Houston at Florida

W: J. Mecir (1-0) L: R. Springer (0-2)
HR: HOU - W. Taveras (2)   FLA - P. Lo Duca (2), C. Delgado (4)

Florida hands Houston another road loss

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

MIAMI -- Mike Lowell stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and the score tied in the eighth inning, relishing the opportunity despite his .190 batting average and four-game hitless streak.

"I like that situation," Lowell said. "I'm not afraid to mess up. What's the worst that can happen -- I pop up? Well, I've been popping up all year."

This time, Lowell pulled the first pitch from Chad Qualls for a two-run double, the biggest hit in a five-run eighth that helped the Florida Marlins rally past the Houston Astros 6-2 Tuesday night.

Florida trailed 2-1 entering the inning, but Carlos Delgado tied the score with his fourth home run. That ended reliever Russ Springer's streak of 9 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings over 10 outings.

Miguel Cabrera reached on an infield single, and Paul Lo Duca hit a broken-bat double. Jeff Conine was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Springer (0-2) departed.

Then Lowell snapped an 0-for-11 skid. The RBI were just his second and third in the past 16 games.

"It's got to give him a boost," manager Jack McKeon said. "I'm so happy for him. He has been almost killing himself and dying inside."

Lowell was struggling so badly that with a runner on second and none out in the seventh, he bunted on his own for the first sacrifice of his career.

There was no thought of bunting in the eighth. Instead he drove a sinker from Qualls off the scoreboard.

"I'm trying to get a groundball," Qualls said. "For him to put it off the wall, it was kind of shocking."

Also vital for Florida was the homer by Delgado. He pulled a 94 mph fastball barely foul, then hit a curve the opposite way over the scoreboard two pitches later.

"One of the best at-bats you're ever going to see," Conine said.

After Lowell put Florida ahead, Alex Gonzalez singled home a run to make it 5-2. Juan Encarnacion became the seventh consecutive Marlins hitter to reach when his bloop single scored another run.

Jim Mecir (1-0), one of five pitchers to combine on a seven-hitter, threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

The Astros fell to 2-15 on the road, including losses in 12 of their past 13 games. Overall they've lost seven of eight.

Houston, last in the NL in hits and home runs, has scored just five runs in the past four games.

"When we have these kinds of games and we do have the lead, we need to hold it," manager Phil Garner said.

Pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro put the Astros ahead 2-1 with a run-scoring single in the seventh. That gave him three RBIs in the series and four this season.

Willy Taveras hit his second homer for the Astros, who came into the game with 18 home runs, fewest in the major leagues. Houston's Brandon Backe pitched six innings and allowed three hits and one run -- Lo Duca's second homer of the year.

Florida's Brian Moehler pitched six innings and allowed just four hits and one run, dropping his ERA to 2.05. The start was his first since April 24, but McKeon said he won't skip Moehler's turn next time.

"He knows how to pitch," McKeon said.


  • Marlins 2B Luis Castillo said after the game that he'll probably remain sidelined by a thigh strain until at least Monday.
  • Houston SS Adam Everett singled in the fifth to end an 0-for-14 skid.
  • Backe lowered his road ERA from 9.72 to 7.54 in four starts.
  • Moehler beat out a bunt for his first major league hit in 37 at-bats. "Thirty years from now, it's going to be a line drive," he joked.
  • Marlins LHP Dontrelle Willis pinch-hit and grounded into a double play to end Florida's eighth-inning rally.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Mike Lowell smacks an eight-inning double with the bases loaded to help Florida top Houston. (AP)
Mike Lowell smacks an eight-inning double with the bases loaded to help Florida top Houston. (AP)

Players of the Game

M. Lowell
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0

B. Moehler
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 2
K 4

Related Video

Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF4111012 .256
Craig Biggio, 2B2000112 .305
Mike Lamb, 1B4010001 .256
Lance Berkman, LF3000120 .071
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4010022 .277
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
Jason Lane, RF4000011 .242
Adam Everett, SS3120001 .223
Brad Ausmus, C4010022 .239
Brandon Backe, P2000000 .231
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1011000 .348
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    John Franco, P0000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Jose Vizcaino, 3B1000001 .250
a-singled for Backe in the 7th
HR - Willy Taveras (2, Moehler)
RBI - Willy Taveras (9), Orlando Palmeiro (4)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Ensberg-Biggio-Lamb, Everett-Biggio-Lamb, Everett-Lamb
Houston Astros
Brandon Backe 6311321 6.05
Dan Wheeler (H,1) 0.2100010 2.03
John Franco (H,3) 0.1000100 1.93
Russ Springer (BS,2; L,0-2) 0.1344111 5.25
Chad Qualls 0.2311000 4.58
IBB - Conine by Russ Springer
HBP - A. Gonzalez (by Brandon Backe)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Backe 88-52, Dan Wheeler 9-6, John Franco 10-4, Russ Springer 25-16, Chad Qualls 8-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Backe 8-6, Dan Wheeler 1-0, John Franco 1-0, Chad Qualls 1-0
Batters Faced - Brandon Backe 23, Dan Wheeler 3, John Franco 2, Russ Springer 5, Chad Qualls 4
Florida Marlins
Juan Pierre, CF4000004 .286
    Jim Mecir, P0000000 .000
   a- Dontrelle Willis, PH1000001 .150
    Todd Jones, P0000000 .000
Damion Easley, 2B4000021 .200
Carlos Delgado, 1B3111100 .303
Miguel Cabrera, LF4010011 .372
    Chris Aguila, PR-LF0100000 .333
Paul Lo Duca, C4221000 .340
Jeff Conine, RF2120200 .269
Mike Lowell, 3B3112002 .198
Alex Gonzalez, SS2011111 .221
Brian Moehler, P2010001 .143
    Nate Bump, P0000000 .000
    Matt Perisho, P0000000 .000
   b- Lenny Harris, PH0000000 .385
   c- Juan Encarnacion, PH-CF1011100 .276
a-grounded into a double play for Mecir in the 8th
b-announced for Perisho in the 7th
c-walked for Harris in the 7th
2B - Paul Lo Duca (3, Springer), Jeff Conine (2, Wheeler), Mike Lowell (8, Qualls)
HR - Carlos Delgado (4, Springer), Paul Lo Duca (2, Backe)
SH - Mike Lowell (1)
RBI - Carlos Delgado (18), Paul Lo Duca (15), Mike Lowell 2 (11), Alex Gonzalez (14), Juan Encarnacion (25)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Easley-A. Gonzalez-Delgado, Lowell-Delgado
Florida Marlins
Brian Moehler 6411241 2.05
Nate Bump 0.1211000 2.16
Matt Perisho 0.2100020 1.13
Jim Mecir (W,1-0) 1000010 3.18
Todd Jones 1000020 1.32
HBP - Biggio (by Brian Moehler), Everett (by Todd Jones)
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 78-51, Nate Bump 10-7, Matt Perisho 14-8, Jim Mecir 11-8, Todd Jones 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 9-3, Nate Bump 1-0, Todd Jones 1-0
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 23, Nate Bump 3, Matt Perisho 3, Jim Mecir 3, Todd Jones 4
Game Information
Attendance - 11687
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Ed Hickox