Marlins 5, Astros 4
With his enthusiasm and veteran leadership, center fielder Mike Cameron has helped rejuvenate the Florida Marlins, who are undefeated since he joined the team.
On Sunday he contributed a hit, too.
Cameron belted a tying two-run homer for his first hit with the Marlins, and they went on to beat the woeful Houston Astros 5-4, completing a four-game sweep.
Florida heads into the All-Star break with a season-best five-game winning streak, all since the 38-year-old Cameron arrived via a trade with the Boston Red Sox.
''He has been in this game for a long time,'' Florida catcher John Buck said. ''It's pretty unanimous that we're all excited he's here.''
Cameron batted only .149 in Boston and is 1 for 10 with the Marlins. But he grinned when asked if he has played a role in the winning streak.
''Maybe it's a little bit of karma - me being around so long and being enthusiastic with the guys and keeping them positive,'' Cameron said. ''It feels like home.''
The erratic Marlins are only five games below .500 (43-48) despite a streak last month of 19 losses in 20 games. The four-game sweep was the first for Florida since May 2010 against the Mets.
Manager Jack McKeon said he was sorry about the timing of the All-Star break.
''I hate to see it show up, but that's the way it goes,'' he said. ''We're going good, and everybody is in a great mental state. The train is moving north.''
Meanwhile, Houston reached a new low in a miserable season by being swept in a four-game series for the first time since May 2007 at Arizona.
All-Star Hunter Pence hit his 11th homer for the Astros, but they go into the break with a record of 30-62, worst in the majors.
''Enjoy your break, everybody,'' outfielder Michael Bourn said. ''We know we haven't been playing well. We needed this break. It's come at the right time because we need to clear our heads.''
Emilio Bonifacio, a catalyst in Florida's recent surge, had three hits and extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games. He stole three bases and scored twice.
Wandy Rodriguez (6-6) was nursing a two-run lead when Cameron homered in the fourth.
''This is what we know he can do - pop the ball out of the ballpark, tie the game up, stuff like that,'' McKeon said. ''He's a real pro, a class act, and he's going to be a good influence on the young players.''
Buck and Bonifacio kept the inning going with singles. Omar Infante's sacrifice fly put Florida ahead to stay, and Sanchez followed with a two-out RBI double.
Rodriguez departed after allowing five runs in 5 1-3 innings.
The Marlins scratched out their first run in the third. Bonifacio led off with a single, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and came home when Sanchez grounded out.
Bonifacio has thrived in the leadoff spot since McKeon became manager June 20, and his average has climbed 26 points in the past two weeks to .285.
''He has played tremendous since I've been here,'' McKeon said. ''He is turning himself into an outstanding leadoff hitter, and he has just been going crazy on the bases.''
NOTES: Astros 2B Matt Downs had one hit while batting cleanup for the first time this season. ... Bonifacio improved his average against left-handers to .342. ... The Astros are 3-14 in Miami since the start of 2007. They're 4-16 when Corporan starts at catcher.