Miami (46-43) at San Diego (35-55)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Diego, CA
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Tue Jul 8, 2008
  • TV: FSFL, Ch4
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The San Diego Padres’ current struggles at home could make it easier for the Florida Marlins to move closer to the top spot in the NL East.

The Marlins look for a third straight victory while trying to add to the Padres’ misery at Petco Park as the teams continue their three-game series Tuesday night.

Florida (46-43) beat San Diego 3-1 in Monday’s opener to improve to 2-3 on a season-long 11-game road trip. The victory—coupled with Philadelphia’s loss to the New York Mets earlier in the evening—has the Marlins within 1 1/2 games of the struggling first-place Phillies.

“We scored enough runs and (Ricky Nolasco) made it hold up,” Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Monday’s win.

While Philadelphia opens a tough home series with St. Louis on Tuesday, Florida looks to send San Diego (35-55) to a 10th straight home loss.

Though the losing stretch is the longest for San Diego at Petco, the Padres haven’t lost 10 in a row at home since dropping 12 straight from May 22-June 10, 1972.

On Monday, Jorge Cantu hit a two-run homer, his 16th, Alfredo Amezaga had three hits and All-Star Hanley Ramirez doubled to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games for the Marlins, whose pitching staff has allowed six runs in its last two games after yielding 30 in the previous two against Colorado.

Cantu, who’s been a pleasant surprise this season for the Marlins, is 9-for-17 with two homers and four RBIs in his last five games. Ramirez, meanwhile, is batting .339 during his hitting streak.

The Marlins don’t expect fellow All-Star Dan Uggla to do more than pinch-hit during this series. The second baseman, third in the NL and the majors with 23 homers, has been out since June 28 with a sprained ankle.

“It feels better, and I hope to be able to pinch-hit sometime in this San Diego series,” Uggla told the Marlins’ official Web site. “As long as I don’t have to run, I’ll be fine.”

The Marlins hope for continued success against San Diego’s Randy Wolf (5-8, 4.59 ERA), who looks to avoid a fifth consecutive loss. Wolf is 0-4 with an 8.31 ERA since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 11. He allowed seven runs and six hits in four innings of an 8-1 loss at Colorado on Wednesday.

“I was horrible. I was just awful,” Wolf said. “It was embarrassing. I felt like I was the worst pitcher in baseball.”

The left-hander hasn’t been much better against Florida, going 3-12 with a 6.24 ERA in 19 starts.

The Marlins counter with Andrew Miller (5-7, 4.98) as he tries to avoid a third straight defeat. Miller, 0-2 with a 5.51 ERA over his last three starts, allowed three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-5, 11-inning loss at Colorado on Thursday.

The left-hander will make his second career start against San Diego after giving up two runs in six innings of a 10-3 win over the Padres on May 4.

Rookie Chase Headley hit his fifth homer and Kevin Kouzmanoff had two hits Monday for San Diego, which has been outscored 49-22 during its home losing streak.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Miller NYY vs. R. Wolf Tor
6-10 Record 12-12
5.87 ERA 4.30
89 K 162
56 BB 71
1.64 WHIP 1.38

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Jul 8