Marlins 4, Rockies 3

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MIAMI (AP)—Juan Encarnacion couldn’t bunt and wound up hitting a go-ahead home run.

After failing twice on sacrifice attempts with Florida trailing by a run in the eighth inning Saturday night, Encarnacion hit a two-run homer that sent the Marlins to a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

“It’s part of the game, it is not prohibited,” Encarnacion said jokingly of his bunt attempts.

Jeff Conine singled off Steve Reed (3-4) leading off the eighth and Encarnacion. who had hit a two-run single in the first of Jason Jennings, followed with his 14th homer.

“I made a mistake with one pitch, he jumped all over it,” Reed said. “That was the game right there.”

Encarnacion was in a 1-for-11 slide coming in.

“He was the guy we were hoping to give us the late-season thing Conine gave us last season,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said, looking back to Florida’s surge a year ago.

The defending World Series champions, who have won four of their last six games, closed within five games of the Chicago Cubs, the NL wild-card leader. Colorado has lost six straight.

Carl Pavano (15-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in eight innings, and Armando Benitez finished with a perfect ninth for his 38th save in 41 chances. Jennings gave up two runs and six hits in six innings.

“The guys battled behind me and got me the four runs,” Pavano said. “I just wanted to stay in there long enough to keep us in the ballgame. “We just have to keep battling, keep playing well.”

Pavano survived Choo Freeman’s one-out triple in the seventh, striking out pinch hitter Mark Sweeney and retiring Aaron Miles on a grounder.

“He’s under control all the time, that’s why he is pitching so well,” McKeon said. “He doesn’t get frustrated when the count goes to 3-2.”

Colorado also wasted Todd Helton’s leadoff double in the sixth.

“This is just right there in your face, runner on second runner, on third and you don’t convert,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “It comes back to haunt you.”

Clint Barmes, brought up from Triple-A Colorado Springs before the game, had put the Rockies ahead in the third inning with his first career homer. It was the Rockies’ first home run in 37 2-3 innings. Colorado had not homered in 154 at-bats.

Barmes had played one game for the Rockies earlier this season, going 1-for-3 on Aug. 14 at Pittsburgh. He took a 6:30 a.m. flight from Albuquerque and arrived at the ballpark 2 1/2 hours before the game.

“It was one greatest feelings of my life,” Barmes said. “It was a pretty exciting game for me overall.”


Miles robbed Encarnacion of a hit and RBI in the third, when he fielded a grounder behind second base and threw out Encarnacion on a close at play at first. McKeon argued with first base umpire Fieldin Culbreth. … The Rockies are 0-5 on a 12-game trip. … Mike Lowell went 0-for-4, ending a 12-game hitting streak.

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