Marlins 3, Rockies 0

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MIAMI (AP)— Ismael Valdez’s 99th career victory came with a slight misstep.

Valdez allowed just four hits before leaving in the seventh inning because of an Achilles’ injury, and Luis Castillo hit an RBI single to lead the Florida Marlins over the Colorado Rockies 3-0 Friday night.

After dropping two of three against the Giants in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders, the Marlins rebounded to win for the fourth time in six games.

Castillo hit his run-scoring single in the second off Joe Kennedy, who started while he awaits a hearing on his appeal of a five-game suspension stemming from a scuffle on Aug. 15 with Pittsburgh’s Jason Kendall.

Valdez, making his fourth start with the Marlins, left after he fell awkwardly while fielding a groundball in the seventh.

With Royce Clayton on third with one out, Vinny Castillo hit a grounder back to the mound. The ball hit Valdez on the right leg, but he recovered in time to hold Clayton at third and make the throw to first for the second out.

Valdez (11-7) left with a strained left Achilles’ tendon. He struck out four in 6 2-3 innings to earn his second win since being acquired in a trade from the Padres.

Valdez is 99-101 with seven teams in his career

“One hundred victories typifies a good career. It doesn’t matter if it’s here or in China,” Valdez said. “That would be a nice achievement.”

Matt Perisho relieved and retired Jeromy Burnitz on a grounder for the final out of the seventh.

Guillermo Mota worked a hitless eighth, and Armando Benitez pitched the ninth for his 37th save in 40 chances and completed the four-hitter.

“That pitching was a carbon copy of what we have been planning,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “Plus, we got just enough hits to pull us through.”

The Marlins scored twice in the eighth off reliever Tim Harikkala. Juan Encarnacion had an RBI single and Harikkala balked to score Jeff Conine, who was intentionally walked.

Valdez was listed as day-to-day, but he said he expects to make his next scheduled start.

McKeon said he would have lifted Valdez regardless, in favor of the left-handed Perisho against Burnitz. Still, he was pleased in the performance of Valdez, who was working on eight days’ rest.

“He pitches well when he has extended periods of rest,” McKeon said. “I’m sure he’ll bounce back fine.”

Kennedy (6-6) pitched seven strong innings for the Rockies. He allowed seven hits while striking out five.

Colorado has dropped five straight games.

The Rockies have fallen into an offensive swoon during a slide in which they have dropped 10 of 12.

“It has been a drought,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “That has been a common theme lately. When we get the opportunities, we’re not coming through. We had guys out on the basepaths tonight.”

The Rockies wasted a solid performance by Kennedy, who pitched well enough to win but was saddled with the loss.

“We’re doing what we can, but when you have that big doughnut up there, you’re not going to win.”

Castillo’s RBI single to center gave Florida a 1-0 lead in the second. The Rockies cut down another run when shortstop Clayton relayed the throw from left get Castillo at the plate following Alex Gonzalez’s double.

Encarnacion, who has been hampered by a shoulder injury, is on his second stint with the club after being acquired in a trade from the Dodgers last month.

“It’s difficult to hit when you’re not healthy,” he said. “You don’t want to make excuses, but that’s the way it is.”

Florida’s Mike Lowell doubled in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.

Notes

The Marlins snapped a string of 14 scoreless innings in the second. Their last previous run came in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s loss against the Giants. …Trailing 1-0 in the sixth, the Rockies stopped another run when Castillo threw out Miguel Cabrera, who was trying to score from third on a grounder.

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