|Florida (80-72) «||0||2||0||2||0||2||0||2||x||8||14||0|
MIAMI -- Although only 10 games remain, the Florida Marlins refuse to count themselves out of the postseason.
"We've got to keep winning," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We've got to do our part and see what happens."
The Marlins, who are on their longest winning streak since they won nine straight in 2006, are tied with the Astros in the NL wild-card race, five games behind the leading New York Mets. They will open a three-game home series against NL East leader Philadelphia on Friday night. The Marlins trail the Phillies by 5½ games in the division race.
"Skip talked to us the other day and he said as long as there's no 'X' by our name, we're still in it," Baker said. "That's the mentality we've been taking. We're trying to get ahead early, keep guys down and win baseball games."
Houston has struggled since Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast. The Astros had won six straight and 14 of 15 before the storm, but have since dropped five straight.
"It's just been a team-wide collapse, basically," first baseman Lance Berkman said. "There's no way to sugarcoat it. You can make all the excuses you want. We just haven't played well."
Marlins starter Scott Olsen (8-10) allowed one run and three hits over seven innings to win his second successive start.
"We're just trying to win some ballgames here. We know it's not over, but we've just got to keep winning," Olsen said. "We don't have a lot of room for error."
Florida scored twice in the second, fourth, sixth and eighth innings.
Cameron Maybin, acquired in an offseason deal that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit, scored on Baker's double in the sixth inning. Maybin went 4-for-4 in his first start for Florida. Later in the sixth, Mike Jacobs' broken-bat single scored Baker to make it 6-1.
Baker doubled off Chris Sampson in the fourth inning to drive home Maybin. Cantu then doubled to left to score Baker and put Florida up 4-1. The Marlins took the lead for good on Baker's bases-loaded single in the second inning, which scored Ross and Alfredo Amezaga and made it 2-1.
"We got our hats handed to us," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "We just didn't pitch in this series. We didn't hit. Heck, we didn't even catch the ball and that's something we do real well."
For the second successive game, Houston's starting pitcher made an early exit. Alberto Arias (1-1) lasted only 2 2/3 innings in his second major league start, giving up two runs and five hits.
Houston starter Brandon Backe lasted only 1 2/3 innings Wednesday night.
Arias said rain that fell early in the game contributed to his problems on the mound.
"I couldn't control the ball because my hand was so wet," Arias said. "I couldn't make my pitches. I tried to throw strikes, every ball went away."
Kazuo Matsui scored in the first inning off Berkman's groundout to put the Astros up 1-0.
"We've faced a run of really good pitching," Berkman said. "But again, this is the major leagues. They have good pitching here. We just have not played well and consequently, we are in dire, dire straights."
All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez was out of the Marlins' starting lineup one day after departing early with a strained left shoulder. Maybin took Ramirez's place batting leadoff and Amezaga moved to shortstop.
|John Baker (right) and Matt Lindstrom are enjoying the Marlins' longest win streak since 2006. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Kazuo Matsui, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||1||0||.284|
|LaTroy Hawkins, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.284|
|Lance Berkman, 1B||4||0||0||1||0||1||1||.318|
|Hunter Pence, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.269|
|Mark Loretta, 3B||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.275|
|Ty Wigginton, LF||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.288|
|Reggie Abercrombie, CF||3||0||1||0||0||1||2||.302|
|J.R. Towles, C||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.139|
|a- Darin Erstad, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.278|
|Humberto Quintero, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.217|
|Alberto Arias, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Chris Sampson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.136|
|b- Mark Saccomanno, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.167|
|Wesley Wright, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Doug Brocail, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Geoff Geary, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- David Newhan, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.247|
|a-struck out for Towles in the 8th|
|b-popped out for Sampson in the 5th|
|c-grounded out for Geary in the 8th|
|2B - Kazuo Matsui (24, Olsen), Miguel Tejada (36, Lindstrom)|
|RBI - Lance Berkman (101)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Matsui-Tejada-Berkman|
|PB - J.R. Towles (3)|
|E - Hunter Pence (1, Dropped fly)|
|Alberto Arias (L,1-1)||2.2||5||2||2||3||2||0||2.53|
|IBB - Jacobs by Chris Sampson|
|HBP - Cantu (by Alberto Arias)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Alberto Arias 69-37, Chris Sampson 30-17, Wesley Wright 29-20, Doug Brocail 16-11, Geoff Geary 9-7, LaTroy Hawkins 27-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alberto Arias 4-1, Chris Sampson 1-1, Doug Brocail 1-0, Geoff Geary 3-0, LaTroy Hawkins 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Alberto Arias 16, Chris Sampson 8, Wesley Wright 7, Doug Brocail 3, Geoff Geary 4, LaTroy Hawkins 6|
|Cameron Maybin, CF||4||2||4||0||1||0||0||.833|
|John Baker, C||5||2||3||4||0||0||2||.290|
|Jorge Cantu, 3B-1B||4||1||1||1||0||0||3||.277|
|Gaby Sanchez, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike Jacobs, 1B||3||0||2||1||1||0||0||.250|
|Wes Helms, PR-3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.246|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||5||1||2||0||0||3||5||.264|
|Josh Willingham, LF||4||0||0||0||1||1||5||.251|
|Cody Ross, RF||4||1||2||2||1||1||2||.265|
|Alfredo Amezaga, SS||4||1||0||0||1||2||3||.261|
|Scott Olsen, P||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.138|
|a- Luis Gonzalez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.264|
|Kevin Gregg, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Lindstrom, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Olsen in the 7th|
|2B - John Baker 2 (11, Sampson, Wright), Jorge Cantu (38, Sampson), Cody Ross (29, Hawkins)|
|RBI - John Baker 4 (27), Jorge Cantu (91), Mike Jacobs (88), Cody Ross 2 (72)|
|2-OUT RBI - John Baker 2 (10), Cody Ross 2 (32)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|Scott Olsen (W,8-10)||7||3||1||1||1||7||0||4.20|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Olsen 101-73, Kevin Gregg 13-10, Matt Lindstrom 13-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Olsen 5-9, Kevin Gregg 1-0, Matt Lindstrom 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Scott Olsen 25, Kevin Gregg 3, Matt Lindstrom 4|
|Attendance - 14219|
|Game Time - 3:03|
|Temperature - 84|
|Umpires - Home - Chad Fairchild, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Bill Hohn|