Marlins 5, Athletics 4

Chris Volstad helped the Florida Marlins end a miserable month

on an upswing.

Volstad allowed one unearned run in seven innings and John Buck

hit a two-run double to help the Florida cap June by beating the

Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Thursday for their first back-to-back wins

in more than a month.

”It was a rough one,” Volstad said. ”Hopefully this is a step

forward and we can keep building off of this and go into Texas and

keep playing the way we played these last two games.”

The Marlins had won just three of their first 26 games in June

before the strong starts by Ricky Nolasco and Volstad (4-7) gave

them their first consecutive victories and first series win since

sweeping the Giants across the bay in San Francisco on May

24-26.

Nothing went right for the Marlins in between their two trips to

the Bay Area as they fell from second place to last, fired hitting

coach John Mallee, had manager Edwin Rodriguez resign and had lost

14 straight losses in one-run games before this victory.

That turned around for Jack McKeon’s team during the three games

against the offensively challenged Athletics, who did not score an

earned run off a Florida starter all series.

”There’s a little momentum,” McKeon said. ”They have a good

feeling about themselves. All we need to do is win three or four in

a row and who knows, maybe it will snowball.”

Oakland traded its longest tenured player before the game,

dealing second baseman Mark Ellis to Colorado for two minor

leaguers. Ellis had been the only player on the 25-man roster

remaining from Oakland’s division-winning teams last decade, but

general manager Billy Beane felt he was expendable because of the

emergence of rookie Jemile Weeks.

”It was a difficult day for everybody,” A’s manager Bob Melvin

said. ”He’s a guy everybody respects. I’m glad Billy sent him to a

team who might be playing for something. It would have been hard

getting him at-bats here. Billy wasn’t necessarily looking for the

best deal. He was looking for a good landing spot for Mark.”

Volstad allowed seven hits and an unearned run after an error by

third baseman Jose Lopez in the seventh inning to win his second

straight start after a career-long six-game losing streak.

Coco Crisp added a solo homer off Edward Mujica in the eighth

inning and Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run shot off Leo Nunez in the

ninth to give the A’s their first multihomer game since May 24

against Anaheim. Nunez recovered for his 22nd save in 25

chances.

The Marlins struck first with back-to-back doubles by Hanley

Ramirez and Logan Morrison to open the second inning against Trevor

Cahill (8-6). Ramirez held up initially on Morrison’s drive to

right, but scored when David DeJesus’ relay throw to Weeks was low

for an error.

There was an odd play in the top of the third inning when

Florida had runners on first and third with one out. Omar Infante

ran from first on a 3-2 pitch that Gaby Sanchez took for a walk.

Kurt Suzuki threw to second base anyway, but Weeks cut off the

throw and threw out Emilio Bonifacio at home plate.

Florida then chased Cahill with four runs in a fifth inning that

started with a couple of infield hits. Bonifacio led off with a

bunt single, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice. With

two outs, Ramirez reached on a swinging bunt down the third-base

line that Adam Rosales didn’t pick up in hopes it would roll foul.

The ball died inches from the foul line, giving Ramirez an RBI

single.

That started a run of four straight hits with Logan Morrison

knocking in a run with an RBI single and Buck ending Cahill’s day

with his two-run double to center field.

”We made him throw strikes and when he threw strikes we hit

them,” McKeon said.

Cahill allowed five runs – four earned – and nine hits in 4 2-3

innings, marking the third time in five starts that he has failed

to make it through five innings.

”My stuff wasn’t as sharp,” Cahill said. ”The first two times

through the lineup I was able to keep the damage to a minimum but

the third time around was tough. I didn’t have anything to show

them. Everything was not as sharp.”

NOTES: Volstad won for the first time in four career starts

without a strikeout. … The error by DeJesus ended a streak of 301

straight games without an error, the longest active streak for an

outfielder. … Hideki Matsui started in LF for his first

appearance in the outfield in an AL park this season. … The A’s

raised more than $29,000 for juvenile diabetes research through

their annual root beer float day.