Pavano allowed five runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings of Friday’s 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The right-hander threw 111 pitches, striking out five and walking just two despite pitching on three days’ rest.
“I felt good. My strength was good,” said Pavano, who had thrown 43 pitches in three innings in a rainout the previous Sunday. “Late in the innings, I could definitely feel a little wear on me,”
The victory was Pavano’s 12th of the season, matching the career high he set last season. It was also his ninth win in 11 decisions.
“He’s in good shape, and he’s been probably our most consistent pitcher all year, so we expected good things out of him,” first baseman Jeff Conine said.
Pavano, who won all five of his starts in June to earn pitcher of the month honors, leads the Marlins with 151 1-3 innings pitched. However, he has been hittable during his current three-start winning streak, sporting a robust 5.57 ERA over that span.
The Marlins lost 2-1 in 10 innings to the Cardinals on Tuesday, falling one game below .500 and 5 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild-card race. Alex Gonzalez knocked in the only run for Florida, which has lost six of nine.
“It’s the same old thing,” manager Jack McKeon said. “I don’t have the answer. It’s been that way all year. We’ve got good hitters. We’re just not connecting at the right time.”
The Marlins have scored only two runs in the past 24 innings.
Jim Edmonds hit the game-winning homer in the 10th, and Albert Pujols ended Josh Beckett’s no-hit bid with a blast in the sixth. The Cardinals, who own the best road record in the majors, have won six straight and are 19-5 since the All-Star break.
“We’ve won some unusual games this year, and I’d put this one right up there with them,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “Truth is stranger than fiction. You couldn’t write that. They wouldn’t believe it.”