Houston at Florida

Scoreboard
Houston (80-72)100000000141
Florida (80-72) «02020202x8140

Baker drives in four; Marlins maul Astros for eighth victory in row

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

MIAMI -- Although only 10 games remain, the Florida Marlins refuse to count themselves out of the postseason.

John Baker drove in four runs and scored twice, leading the Marlins past the fading Houston Astros 8-1 for their eighth consecutive victory.

"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.

Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla scored on Cody Ross' double in the eighth to give the Marlins their final two runs.

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.

Notes

  • The Astros open a three-game series at Pittsburgh on Friday night.
  • The players took the field as a steady rain fell Thursday. The grounds crew was dispatched to the soggy infield four times in the first four innings.
 
Copyright 2014 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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John Baker (right) and Matt Lindstrom are enjoying the Marlins' longest win streak since 2006.  (AP)
John Baker (right) and Matt Lindstrom are enjoying the Marlins' longest win streak since 2006. (AP)

Players of the Game
Florida

C. Maybin
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 0
Florida

J. Baker
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 4
 

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Houston Astros
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4110010 .284
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
Miguel Tejada, SS4010011 .284
Lance Berkman, 1B4001011 .318
Hunter Pence, RF4000011 .269
Mark Loretta, 3B3010101 .275
Ty Wigginton, LF3000022 .288
Reggie Abercrombie, CF3010012 .302
J.R. Towles, C2000022 .139
   a- Darin Erstad, PH1000010 .278
    Humberto Quintero, C0000000 .217
Alberto Arias, P1000010 .000
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .136
   b- Mark Saccomanno, PH1000001 .167
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
   c- David Newhan, PH-2B1000000 .247
Totals31141111  
a-struck out for Towles in the 8th
b-popped out for Sampson in the 5th
c-grounded out for Geary in the 8th
Batting
2B - Kazuo Matsui (24, Olsen), Miguel Tejada (36, Lindstrom)
RBI - Lance Berkman (101)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Matsui-Tejada-Berkman
PB - J.R. Towles (3)
E - Hunter Pence (1, Dropped fly)
Houston Astros
Alberto Arias (L,1-1) 2.2522320 2.53
Chris Sampson 1.1322120 4.35
Wesley Wright 1.1322020 5.16
Doug Brocail 0.2000110 4.11
Geoff Geary 1100000 2.36
LaTroy Hawkins 1220020 4.18
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
Florida Marlins
Cameron Maybin, CF4240100 .833
John Baker, C5234002 .290
Jorge Cantu, 3B-1B4111003 .277
    Gaby Sanchez, 1B0000000 .000
Mike Jacobs, 1B3021100 .250
    Wes Helms, PR-3B1000001 .246
Dan Uggla, 2B5120035 .264
Josh Willingham, LF4000115 .251
Cody Ross, RF4122112 .265
Alfredo Amezaga, SS4100123 .261
Scott Olsen, P3000022 .138
   a- Luis Gonzalez, PH1000000 .264
    Kevin Gregg, P0000000 .000
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
Totals38814859  
a-grounded out for Olsen in the 7th
Batting
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
Florida Marlins
Scott Olsen (W,8-10) 7311170 4.20
Kevin Gregg 1000020 3.60
Matt Lindstrom 1100020 3.31
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
Game Information
Attendance - 14219
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Chad Fairchild, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Bill Hohn