Miami (63-55) at Houston (57-61)

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Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue Aug 18, 2009
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Hanley Ramirez(notes) leads the NL in batting, and he isn’t the only member of the Florida Marlins who has been hot at the plate lately.

Ramirez and the surging Marlins try to extend their club record of consecutive double-digit hit games to 14 when they host Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

With six hits in 13 at-bats against wild card-leading Colorado over the weekend, Ramirez pushed his average to .356. He has batted .458 with two homers and 13 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak, and was 9 of 20 versus the Astros during a four-game set in Miami that ended Thursday.

Ramirez has helped the Marlins (63-55) win eight of 10 and reach double digits in hits in 13 consecutive contests - tied for the longest such run since 1954. Boston was the last to match the feat from May 6-19, 1999.

“I think hitting is contagious,” said rookie left fielder Chris Coghlan(notes), who was 5 for 10 with a three-run homer as the Marlins split a doubleheader Sunday. “For me, to be able to get some hits in front of Hanley and the guys behind me it’s great. Everybody is seeing the ball well.”

Coghlan set a franchise record with eight straight multihit games from Aug. 1-9. He went 2 for 5 in the finale Sunday as Florida piled up 13 hits despite losing 7-3.

Catcher John Baker(notes) has five multihit games in his last six contests. He went 6 for 14 and drove in five runs against Houston (57-61) last week as Florida took three of four.

Batting .332 and averaging 6.8 runs during their 13-game streak, the Marlins look to give plenty of support to Ricky Nolasco(notes) (8-8, 5.44 ERA) in the series opener.

The right-hander will try to rebound from a 14-6 loss to Houston on Wednesday, when he allowed a career-high 10 runs and eight hits over 3 1-3 innings.

Nolasco was 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in his previous four starts.

“(Nolasco) was not as sharp as we’ve seen him before,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Marlins’ official Web site. “That happens over the course of 30 to 35 starts. He will bounce back, and we’ll get him going again.”

The Astros’ Bud Norris(notes) (3-0, 3.00) beat Florida on Wednesday and is looking to build on the effort. The rookie right-hander was staked to a 5-0 first-inning lead and won his third straight start despite yielding five runs and 10 hits over five innings.

“He didn’t have the stuff we’ve seen the last couple of outings,” manager Cecil Cooper said.

Norris, though, is the first Astros pitcher to win his first three starts since Roger Clemens(notes) won his first seven in 2004.

Houston’s Hunter Pence(notes) hit a three-run shot off Nolasco on Wednesday and added a three-run homer off Tim Wood(notes) for a career-high six RBIs.

After having a home run taken away by replay in the sixth inning Sunday, Pence hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth as Houston defeated Milwaukee 8-5 to snap a three-game slide.

Pence has three hits - all homers - in seven at-bats lifetime versus Nolasco.

Ramirez is 2 for 3 with a two-run homer against Norris.

Florida has not won a series in Houston since May 2004. The Marlins went 2-8 in their last 10 games at Minute Maid Park.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Nolasco Min vs. B. Norris Bal
13-9 Record 6-3
5.06 ERA 4.53
195 K 54
44 BB 25
1.25 WHIP 1.51


Tuesday, Aug 18