Marlins 6, Rockies 3

Florida Marlins fans booed slumping Hanley Ramirez when he
struck out in the eighth inning. Two batters later, they demanded a
curtain call from Mike Stanton.

The turnaround in mood came quickly Sunday for the Marlins, who
blew an eighth-inning lead before Stanton hit a three-run homer to
beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3.

Omar Infante had a bases-loaded triple, Florida’s only hit off
Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez.

The Marlins won with just three hits, none by Ramirez. The
All-Star shortstop drew jeers for the second game in a row and
finished 0 for 4, dropping his average to .182.

Even so, Ramirez said he’s having the most fun of his

”This is like a Little League team,” he said. ”Everybody is
happy, and happy to be here.”

It helps that the Marlins are winning. By taking two of three in
the series, Florida (13-7) matched the best 20-game start in
franchise history, achieved in 2004.

After Colorado scored twice in the top of the eighth, Infante
singled in the bottom half against Matt Belisle (2-1). With two
out, Gaby Sanchez walked, and Stanton pulled a hanging 1-0 slider
into the left-field seats.

”We threw a very bad pitch to Mike Stanton,” Rockies manager
Jim Tracy said. ”It was a breaking ball that didn’t do anything.
He’s going to hit those balls out of the ballpark, it’s that

Stanton’s second homer this year earned him a curtain call from
the crowd of 11,442. Slowed earlier by injuries to both hamstrings,
the young slugger has hiked his average to .265.

”Being able to finally play every day and not have these
mishaps here and there is good for me, and I’m getting a little
more comfortable,” he said.

Mike Dunn (1-0) struck out Seth Smith with runners at the
corners to end the eighth. Leo Nunez pitched a perfect ninth for
his sixth save in as many chances.

The game matched Josh Johnson against Jimenez – two pitchers who
finished in the top five in NL Cy Young Award voting last year.
Both brought their good stuff, and the teams remained hitless
through the first 156 pitches.

”I looked up there, and it was a lot of zeros,” Johnson said.
”I was like, `This is what everybody wanted.”’

The game wasn’t exactly what Ramirez had in mind. The hitless
afternoon left him 2 for his past 27, and manager Edwin Rodriguez
said he may give the 2009 NL batting champion a day off Monday.

”I’m trying too hard, chasing bad pitches, and you see the
pitches go 100 mph,” Ramirez said. ”I’ve just got to calm down
and get back on track.”

His attitude has drawn criticism in the past, and last year he
was briefly benched for a lack of hustle. But new Marlins catcher
John Buck praised the way Ramirez has dealt with his slump.

”All I heard about was as far as him not being a leader when
stuff goes bad,” Buck said. ”But I think the best thing that
could happen is him starting out bad and being the team player he
has been. He’s struggling probably the worst on the team, but when
I’m making an out, he’s the first one patting me on the back.

”Whatever he has been in the past is far from what I’ve
experienced here. And if he gets going, it’s going to be something

The Rockies are sputtering at the plate, too, despite leading
the NL West. They had six hits against four Florida pitchers and
totaled only 13 in the three-game series.

They did muster a rally from a 3-1 deficit in the eighth it
against Clay Hensley. Carlos Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly and Troy
Tulowitzki followed with a two-out RBI double.

The comeback cost the unbeaten Johnson his fourth win. He
allowed three hits and one run in seven innings, inflating his ERA
from 1.00 to 1.06, still the best in the majors.

Johnson held the Rockies hitless until Dexter Fowler and
Jonathan Herrera hit back-to-back doubles with two out in the
sixth. That ended a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings for

The victory provided him plenty of consolation. In addition,
after the game he got to meet actor Charlie Sheen, who was in

”I shook his hand,” Johnson said. ”I’ve been watching him my
whole life. Pretty cool.”

NOTES: Rockies C Chris Iannetta (stiff back) was held out for
the second day in a row but may return to the starting lineup
Monday. … Johnson has allowed only nine hits in his past three
starts, and opponents are batting .116 against him. For
right-handed hitters the average is .071. … Tulowitzki boosted
his lifetime average in Miami to .174 (8 for 46).