Marlins 6, Astros 3

Hanley Ramirez and Javier Vazquez are recovering from rough

starts and helping the Florida Marlins build a modest winning

streak.

Ramirez continued his recent torrid hitting with three hits and

three RBIs and Vazquez pitched seven solid innings as the Marlins

defeated the Houston Astros 6-3 on Friday night.

”When you go through those moments you just have to fight and

fight,” Ramirez said of his early season struggles. ”I wasn’t

feeling anything at home plate. I was a different guy.”

Ramirez is hitting .448 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in

July.

Vazquez (5-8) settled down after a rough first inning and in one

stretch, retired 16 of 18 hitters. He allowed two runs and six

hits, struck out four and walked none.

Over his last five starts, Vazquez has allowed four earned runs

in 30 1-3 innings, struck out 19 and walked three for a 1.19

ERA.

”I’m staying more aggressive, just pounding the strike zone,”

Vazquez said. ”That’s what I have to keep doing. Mix up my

pitches.”

The Marlins won a third consecutive game for the first time

since a three-game sweep of San Francisco in May. Florida began its

streak with Mike Stanton’s walkoff home run in a 7-6 win over

Philadelphia on Wednesday and extended it in the first two games of

the current four-game series against the Astros.

”I told you guys, when we beat the Phillies in that walkoff,

that was going to be our rhythm,” Ramirez said. ”Everything has

been working.”

The loss was the Astros’ 12th in their last 14 games.

”Javier was able to shut us down and we were really kind of

sporadic about getting baserunners,” Houston manager Brad Mills

said.

Astros rookie Jordan Lyles remained winless after his seventh

major league start. Lyles (0-4) pitched six innings and allowed

five runs, seven hits, walked three and struck out three.

”I missed a lot of spots today with everything,” Lyles said.

”I didn’t have my stuff. That’s not an excuse but I’ve got to

battle a little bit better than I did tonight.”

Florida broke a 2-2 tie and took the lead for good on Ramirez’s

run-scoring single in the third inning. He drove in Gaby Sanchez,

who reached on a two-out double.

The Marlins increased the lead to 5-2 in the fifth on Logan

Morrison’s bases-loaded walk and Mike Stanton’s sacrifice fly.

”The thing that’s satisfying is seeing these guys do the little

things,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. ”I was delighted with

Morrison walking with the bases loaded. That’s how you end up

winning ball games.”

Stanton hit an RBI single off reliever Fernando Rodriguez in the

seventh and increased Florida’s lead to 6-2.

Carlos Corporan’s one-out RBI single off Florida reliever Burke

Badenhop in the ninth made it 6-3. Leo Nunez relieved Badenhop and

retired pinch-hitter Jason Michaels and Michael Bourn for his 24th

save in 26 opportunities.

Ramirez’s two-run home run in the bottom of the first erased a

2-0 deficit. Ramirez drove Lyles’ pitch over the wall in

right-center field for his eighth home run of the season.

The Astros scored two runs in the top of the first on RBI

singles by Jeff Keppinger and Brett Wallace.

Notes: Florida 3B Emilio Bonifacio sat out the game to be his

wife, who is expecting a baby. Bourn had his NL-leading 22nd

infield hit in the first when he beat Ramirez’s throw on a routine

grounder to shortstop.