It’s been two weeks since the Florida Marlins last won a series, but they’re feeling good about their chances after a wild win on Saturday.
The Marlins will try to build on that when they meet the Houston Astros on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series.
Florida (51-60) won the last three games of a four-game series against Cincinnati July 19-22, but has lost nine of 12 since then - a stretch that began with a season-high tying six-game skid.
The Marlins, though, hope to get back on track after a dramatic 6-5 win in 12 innings on Saturday.
“I thought we’ve been playing well the whole time,” Florida rookie manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Marlins’ official Web site. “This might just be the turning point.”
Miguel Cabrera was walked intentionally with two outs in the 12th, and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Stephen Randolph. Another wild pitch from Randolph bounced away from catcher Eric Munson and trickled into the Marlins dugout.
The Astros (48-62) claimed the ball bounced into the dugout on its own, but crew chief and first base umpire Randy Marsh said he and home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt saw Munson touch the ball before he tumbled into the dugout to retrieve it. Because of that ruling, Cabrera was awarded home plate.
“We won - that’s all,” said Cabrera, who also hit a game-tying solo home run in the seventh. “We needed this win. If we stay like this, we can turn it around.”
Despite Cabrera’s big night, the All-Star third baseman—a .315 career hitter—is hitting just .189 in 25 career games against the Astros, and is 3-for-18 against them this season.
For the Marlins to clinch the series, Scott Olsen (8-9, 5.53 ERA) will need to overcome his latest struggles and avoid his first three-start losing streak of the season. The left-hander has given up 13 runs in 10 innings spanning two starts since he was arrested July 22 for driving under the influence and resisting a police officer.
Olsen, who has retained his spot in Florida’s rotation while the legal system runs its course, was tagged for six runs in five innings in a 6-3 loss to Colorado on Tuesday.
“I threw good pitches. They hit them. It was another one of those days,” said Olsen, who won his only career start against the Astros on July 16, 2006.
The Astros had won back-to-back road games for the first time in nearly two months before Saturday’s defeat, which dropped them to 20-37 on the road this year - the worst mark in the NL.
They hope to bounce back with Matt Albers (2-4, 5.93). The right-hander has allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings over his last two relief appearances, but fared well in a spot start on July 25, holding the Los Angeles Dodgers to three hits in five scoreless innings. He didn’t get the decision in the Astros’ 2-1 win.
“Albers did a nice job,” said manager Phil Garner. “He pitched out of a couple of jams.”
Albers, who is 1-4 with a 5.54 ERA in eight starts this year, has never faced the Marlins.