Marlins 6, Rays 1

Chris Volstad and the Florida Marlins gained some confidence

after a successful weekend at Tampa Bay.

Volstad pitched six solid innings to stop a personal six-game

winless streak and the Marlins got two RBIs from rookie Mike

Stanton in a 6-1 victory over the Rays on Sunday.

“It was good to win a series, especially against record-wise

the best team in baseball,” Volstad said. “We’re playing great

right now. Let’s keep it going.”

Volstad (4-6) gave up one run and four hits, struck out three

and walked four. He was 0-4 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts since

earning a win against Washington on May 7.

Jorge Cantu and Wes Helms homered for the Marlins, who won two

of three in the weekend series.

Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena was hitless in four at-bats,

ending his streak of six games with at least one homer. He finished

two games shy of the major league record shared by Dale Long

(Pittsburgh 1956), Don Mattingly (New York Yankees 1987) and Ken

Griffey Jr. (Seattle 1993).

“That is really cool, no doubt about it, I was very happy to be

mentioned among those players,” Pena said.

The Rays dropped into a tie for first in the AL East with the

New York Yankees, who beat Houston 9-5 Sunday. Tampa Bay had held

sole possession of first for the past 51 days.

“We expected all those teams to be in it the whole entire

time,” Rays center fielder B.J. Upton said. “We’re not going to

change a thing. If we keep playing the baseball we know how to play

and how we’ve been playing it, things will end up working out our

way.”

Boston and Toronto are also in contention for the AL East

title.

Rays right-hander Jeff Niemann (6-1) allowed five runs and nine

hits over six innings. He was 8-0 in 16 starts at home since losing

to Boston on May 2, 2009.

“Just a lack of execution on my part,” Niemann said. “They

didn’t miss any mistakes.”

The Marlins scored four times in the sixth to take a 5-1 lead.

Cantu went deep, Stanton hit an RBI single and Helms added a

two-run shot.

Stanton, a highly touted prospect, also singled in a run with

two out in the fourth. Through his first five games since joining

the Marlins from Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday, Stanton is

hitting .368 with four RBIs in five games.

“Pretty productive,” Stanton said. “I’m learning a lot,

still. I’m fine with it. There’s always room for improvement but

I’m satisfied for the first week. Just keep pushing forward.”

The Rays tied it at 1 in the bottom half on Ben Zobrist’s

sacrifice fly, which was caught by second baseman Dan Uggla. With

Uggla running away from the infield, Carl Crawford easily beat his

spinning throw to the plate.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but

Volstad got grounders from Crawford and Evan Longoria to stave off

the threat.

“I think that’s an inning he can grow up on and get better,”

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I hope he learned from that

and keeps getting better.”

NOTES: Helms hit his first homer since Sept. 2 in Saturday’s 6-5

loss to the Rays. … Marlins LHP Nate Robertson, moved to the

bullpen due to a rainout and off day, will return to the rotation

and start Friday’s game against Tampa Bay. … Crawford hit into a

first-inning double play. It ended his stretch of 239 at-bats

without grounding into a DP. … Florida LHP Renyel Pinto (strained

left hip) is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list

on Tuesday. … Tampa Bay 2B Sean Rodriguez had three hits and has

a career-best 14-game hitting streak. … Cantu has a hit in 12

straight games.