Ethier sets mark for longest April streak

Andre Ethier set a major league record for the longest April hitting streak with an RBI double that gave him a hit in 23 straight games, but the Florida Marlins remained just as hot with Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ethier broke Joe Torre’s longstanding record. Torre, who managed Ethier on the Dodgers between 2008 and 2010, set the mark in 1971 while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ethier said he had not yet heard from Torre, saying the 70-year-old legend probably had other things on his mind in his new role as Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations.

"I guess he has other issues to deal with [so] that he’s not worried about 40-year-old April records," Ethier said, according to MLB.com.

The record for longest overall hitting streak stands at 56 and was set by the New York Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio in 1941. Ethier said that record never will be broken.

"I don’t think anyone will get too close to break that," the 29-year-old said. "It’s tough to get a hit three weeks in a row. Fifty-six in a row is a whole other thing."

Mike Stanton drove in two runs, Chris Volstad pitched seven innings, Gaby Sanchez homered and Hanley Ramirez added a pair of hits and scored two runs for the Marlins, who have won seven of eight.

Ramirez, a three-time All-Star, came into the game in a 3-for-28 slump, but recently made an adjustment in his batting stance to try to eliminate a high leg kick.

”It’s better,” said Ramirez, who raised his average to .211. ”Still, I’m not feeling 100 percent at the plate. I have to keep working to get 100 percent, get my timing right, and start to the drive the ball-doubles, triples, and homers.”

The Marlins improved to 7-1 on a nine-game homestand and 15-7 overall, tying the franchise record for best 22-game start.

”We have been doing it together all year; not me, them,” Ramirez said. ”I think this is the first night, but it’s good, I’m having fun.”

”It’s great,” Stanton said. ”You never know who is going to take care of business that night. We don’t have to rely on one person’s shoulders. If someone is off that night, then someone else is going to do it, and that’s what you need to be a great team.”

There were a couple of other bright spots for the Dodgers, who have lost three of four, as James Loney went 4 for 4.

”You look at us right now — we have three guys who started the season as utility players,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ”We have to try to scratch and get our runs here and there. … I think we’re going to be OK offensively.”

Volstad (2-1) allowed a baserunner in all but two innings but kept himself out of serious trouble. He allowed two runs, seven hits and one walk and struck out five.

”Putting the hitters on the defensive right away was the key part,” Volstad said. ”Mostly just sinkers and sliders.”

The seven innings were a season high for Volstad, who came into the game with a gaudy 6.60 ERA.

”Outstanding outing by Chris Volstad,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. ”Let’s see if he can keep it up.”

Leo Nunez got his seventh straight save.

Clayton Kershaw (2-3) allowed four runs in 5-1/3 innings and struck out five.

”There are a couple of pitches I’d like to have back,” Kershaw said. ”If I had to do it all over again, maybe I throw a couple of pitches at a different location.”

With the score tied at 2 in the sixth, Chris Coghlan and Ramirez singled. Sanchez walked to load the bases before Stanton hit a two-run single to right-center.

”Put the ball in play and anything can happen,” Stanton said, ”and obviously it showed.”

Sanchez’s third homer of the season tied the game in the second.

After a sacrifice fly by Rod Barajas to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead, Ramirez used his speed to his advantage. He took off from first on a steal attempt. Sanchez swung at the pitch grounding to third, but Ramirez did not slow down around second as he kept running toward third while the throw went to first. A return throw to third baseman Aaron Miles was mishandled, allowing Ramirez to score.

”I was trying to make something happen,” Ramirez said.

His aggressiveness pleased Rodriguez.

”That’s the way he plays,” Rodriguez said. ”That’s the way I want him to play and that’s the way I want the whole team to play.”

Randy Choate and Clay Hensley combined to pitch a scoreless eighth.

NOTES: Kershaw made an impressive diving stop to his left on a bunt attempt by Emilio Bonifacio in the fifth, then threw from his knees to get the out at first. … Rodriguez credits Nunez’s early success to an improved slider and having John Buck behind the plate. … Marlins hitting coach John Mallee has been advising Ramirez to reduce his leg kick since spring training, but it took a sub-.200 batting average to get Ramirez to make an adjustment. ”This game will humble you in a hurry,” Rodriguez said. Ramirez responded with his first multihit game since April 14. … Loney’s four hits, all singles, tied a career high.