Houston at Florida

Houston (55-57)0200000136100
Florida (59-53) «40000301x8101

Marlins 8, Astros 6

CBSSports.com wire reports

MIAMI -- In a season of big streaks, the Florida Marlins are suddenly back in the hunt in the NL East.

Rick VandenHurk pitched five effective innings, five Florida players had at least one RBI and the Marlins beat the Houston Astros 8-6 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.

"It was nice to come out and not be flat," Marlins catcher John Baker said, referring to the Marlins' first game since a three-game sweep at Philadelphia.

Baker had two RBI, and NL batting leader Hanley Ramirez had two singles and an RBI to help chase starter Brian Moehler (7-8) after five innings.

Florida moved within 3½ games of idle Philadelphia for the NL East lead.

VandenHurk (2-1) struck out four and allowed two runs and five hits.

"It wasn't feeling like a good outing early on, but we scored some runs and it allowed me to keep attacking," VandenHurk said.

Darin Erstad had a home run and three RBI for Houston.

Florida lost three straight last week to the last-place Washington Nationals and appeared on the verge of a complete collapse. The Marlins then went into Philadelphia for the sweep that recharged their postseason hopes.

Flopping after many big wins this season, Florida avoided any kind of a letdown.

Baker hit a two-run double in the first to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead. Jorge Cantu had an RBI single and Cody Ross added a sacrifice fly in the inning to put Florida ahead 4-0.

"It was really big," Baker said of the fast start. It prevented us from having any kind of a letdown coming off a big sweep of Philadelphia."

After Hunter Pence singled in the second, Erstad hit a towering home run to right to cut the deficit in half.

Chris Coghlan hit an RBI single in the sixth after Baker scored on a balk by Chris Sampson. Later in the inning, Astros manager Cecil Cooper decided to intentionally walk Nick Johnson with two outs and a runner on second to have Sampson face Ramirez, who ripped a single to left that put Florida ahead 7-2.

"We're not built to fight back like that," Cooper said. "We did give it a pretty good go. We got to two runs down, but we've got to shut it down once we do get back in the game there. We got back in the game 4-2, but we just couldn't close the door and shut them off."

An RBI double by Erstad in the seventh made it 7-3 and Jeremy Hermida doubled and scored from third on a wild pitch by Alberto Arias in the eighth to restore the five-run lead.

Carlos Lee had a two-run double in the ninth off Matt Lindstrom, and he scored on a balk by Leo Nunez, who got the last two outs for his 12th save.

"We got close then turned around and went in a different way," Lee said. "We need to score some runs and give the pitcher something to work with. The pitchers feel like they can't make a mistake because we're not scoring runs."


Cooper said before the game that even though RHP Roy Oswalt (sore back) appears healthy and ready to make his first start in about two weeks on Tuesday, he won't know for sure until the right-hander throws in a live game. "I've got my fingers crossed," Cooper said. ... Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez (sprained shoulder) will throw about 90 pitches Wednesday in a rehab start with Double-A Jacksonville, manager Fredi Gonzalez said. Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter in September 2006 for Florida, was placed on the 60-day DL on July 12.
Copyright 2015 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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Players of the Game

D. Erstad
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

J. Baker
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4000122 .284
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4100111 .246
Miguel Tejada, SS5130010 .320
Carlos Lee, LF4112103 .313
Geoff Blum, 3B5000005 .267
Hunter Pence, RF5120020 .289
Ivan Rodriguez, C4120003 .252
Darin Erstad, 1B3123100 .208
Brian Moehler, P2000000 .032
   a- Jason Michaels, PH1000001 .225
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .000
   b- Matt Kata, PH1000001 .200
    Alberto Arias, P0000000 .000
a-hit into fielder's choice for Moehler in the 6th
b-lined out for Sampson in the 8th
2B - Carlos Lee (25, Lindstrom), Darin Erstad (6, Donnelly)
HR - Darin Erstad (2, VandenHurk)
RBI - Carlos Lee 2 (68), Darin Erstad 3 (9)
2-OUT RBI - Darin Erstad (3)
SB - Michael Bourn (40, 2nd base off VandenHurk/Baker), Miguel Tejada (4, 2nd base off VandenHurk/Baker)
Team LOB - 9
Outfield Assists - Michael Bourn 1
DP - Blum-Matsui-Erstad
Houston Astros
Brian Moehler (L,7-8) 5544330 5.32
Chris Sampson 2433300 4.28
Alberto Arias 1111110 2.74
IBB - Hermida by Brian Moehler, Gload by Chris Sampson, by N. Johnson
WP - Alberto Arias (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 80-49, Chris Sampson 37-18, Alberto Arias 17-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 2-10, Chris Sampson 4-0, Alberto Arias 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 23, Chris Sampson 11, Alberto Arias 5
Florida Marlins
Chris Coghlan, LF3211200 .286
Nick Johnson, 1B4110121 .297
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
    Leo Nunez, P0000000 .000
Hanley Ramirez, SS5021003 .348
Jorge Cantu, 3B-1B3111102 .277
Dan Uggla, 2B4120002 .236
John Baker, C4122001 .276
Cody Ross, CF2101101 .262
Jeremy Hermida, RF3110100 .257
Rick VandenHurk, P2000022 .000
    Brian Sanches, P0000000 .000
   a- Ross Gload, PH0000100 .271
    Brendan Donnelly, P0000000 .000
   b- Wes Helms, PH-3B1000001 .271
a-was walked intentionally for Sanches in the 6th
b-grounded out for Donnelly in the 8th
2B - John Baker (19, Moehler), Jeremy Hermida (11, Arias)
SF - Cody Ross (2)
RBI - Chris Coghlan (27), Hanley Ramirez (75), Jorge Cantu (63), John Baker 2 (34), Cody Ross (63)
2-OUT RBI - Hanley Ramirez (36)
SB - Hanley Ramirez (21, 2nd base off Moehler/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 7
E - Dan Uggla (9, Misplayed grounder)
Florida Marlins
Rick VandenHurk (W,2-1) 5522341 4.15
Brian Sanches (H,4) 1100100 1.10
Brendan Donnelly 2211010 1.20
Matt Lindstrom 0.1231000 6.12
Leo Nunez (S,12) 0.2000010 3.91
WP - Brian Sanches (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Rick VandenHurk 97-59, Brian Sanches 14-8, Brendan Donnelly 22-17, Matt Lindstrom 14-10, Leo Nunez 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rick VandenHurk 2-9, Brian Sanches 2-1, Brendan Donnelly 2-3, Matt Lindstrom 2-0, Leo Nunez 1-0
Batters Faced - Rick VandenHurk 23, Brian Sanches 5, Brendan Donnelly 8, Matt Lindstrom 4, Leo Nunez 2
Game Information
Attendance - 12325
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 88
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Bill Miller