The spotlight set up in front of the Sun Life Stadium press box for the post-game Cirque Dreams show wasn't unveiled until the eighth. Ricky Nolasco pitched as if it was pointed at him all game. Nolasco held the Astros to a run on seven hits for his sixth career complete game in the Marlins' series-clinching 6-1 victory Saturday. The Marlins matched their season-long winning streak (four) with plenty of offense. Logan Morrison went 3-for-4 with a three-run triple and John Buck tallied his 100th career home run. Up third in the bottom of the eighth, manager Jack McKeon let Nolasco hit and sent him back out with his pitch count at 95. He gave up a Carlos Lee double, but needed just 11 pitches to get through the ninth. Nolasco (6-5) walked one and struck out eight, increasing his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 3.2-to-1. "We have too many guys now go five and six and look over their shoulder," McKeon said. "'Who's going to pick me up?' But, if we train them that way that's the way they're going to be. We're going to untrain them." The complete game was his second in three games. On June 29 at Oakland, Nolasco logged a five-hit shutout. He has now gone three straight starts pitching seven or more innings and allowing one or no runs. His ERA has plummeted from 4.44 to 3.70. "That's what you want to do every time out," Nolasco said. "It's a good mindset to have? [to] go as deep as I can as long as I can to keep my team in the game." McKeon, who praised Morrison for taking a bases-loaded walk in Friday's win, no doubt loved the way Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs off Astros starter Brett Myers without the benefit of a base hit. In the first inning, Emilio Bonifacio walked, stole second, advanced to third on an Omar Infante groundout to the right side and scored on a Ramirez groundout to short. Ramirez four innings later drew a bases-loaded walk as a part of a four-run inning, giving him his second straight multi-RBI game, third in four games and seventh in 16 games. The Marlins have now scored in the first inning a major league-best 34 times (National League-best 60 runs). The flip side is the Marlins also have allowed first-inning runs 32 times (57 runs), tied with the Astros for fourth-most in the majors. For Bonifacio, who on Saturday at 1:57 p.m. became a father, the steal was his eighth in 10 games. He's been successful on all but one of his last 12 attempts dating back to mid-May. Nine of those tries have come since June 29.
Nolasco goes the distance in Marlins' fourth straight win
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Jul 10