Cabrera’s grand slam propels Marlins over slumping Rockies 10-2

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DENVER (AP)—The Florida Marlins have won four in a row. Colorado dropped its third straight.

The last-place Marlins put another dent in Colorado’s slim postseason hopes, beating the slumping Rockies 10-2 Saturday night.

Miguel Cabrera hit his first career grand slam and Hanley Ramirez tied a career-high with three stolen bases as the Marlins matched their longest winning streak of the season.

Colorado has lost three in a row for the first time since dropping eight straight in June. The Rockies dropped 4 1/2 games behind the NL wild-card leading San Diego Padres and are three back of Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

“These are desperate times,” Todd Helton said. “We have to play like a desperate team. Maybe we can get lucky and get some help.”

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said his team is embracing playing meaningful games in September—as a playoff spoiler.

“Absolutely,” Gonzalez said. “If you don’t, then you’re not a competitor. Everybody in that room’s a competitor, whether it’s pingpong or marbles.”

The Rockies are trying to keep an even-keel approach. But it’s difficult with the losses mounting and time running out.

“This team has show itself to be resilient,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We needed wins the past two games and didn’t get them. We need a win tomorrow.”

Gonzalez could hardly believe it when he was informed that Cabrera’s grand slam was the first of his career.

“Wow,” he said.

That pretty much summed up Cabrera’s 438-foot homer to center. It was the fifth grand slam by the Marlins this season.

“I feel excited,” said Cabrera, who was able to get the ball.

Cabrera finished 3-for-5 and drove in a season-high five runs, pushing his season total to 104 RBIs. He joined Alex Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero as the only players to reach the 100-RBI plateau in each of the last four seasons.

“It means a lot,” Cabrera said. “You have to be consistent every year.”

Ramirez had two singles to give him 193 hits, tying for the NL lead with Jimmy Rollins and Matt Holliday. Ramirez’s three stolen bases tied a career high. He also had three against the New York Mets earlier this season.

Logan Kensing (1-0) pitched two innings in relief for the win, just his second career major league.

Florida starter Sergio Mitre went 4 2-3 innings before being pulled for Renyel Pinto with two outs in the fifth and the bases loaded. Pinto got Helton to ground out to first to end the inning.

And Gonzalez said before the game he wasn’t going to throw Pinto into a pressure-packed situation, either. Pinto has been nursing a strained left shoulder.

“How about that?” Gonzalez said with a grin. “I said the eighth, this was the fifth.”

Ubaldo Jimenez (3-4) struggled with his command from the outset and was lifted for a pinch hitter in the third. He gave up five runs—two earned—and five hits in three innings. He also had four walks and five strikeouts.

“I couldn’t find the strike zone,” he explained.

Florida scored the three unearned runs—all with two outs—in the third. Miguel Olivo had a two-run double and Josh Willingham added an RBI double.

Olivo added another RBI double in the ninth.

Ramirez led off the game with a walk and then stole second and third. Jeremy Hermida lined a shot past the diving Cory Sullivan in center field for an RBI triple, Ramirez’s first triple of the season. It extended Hermida’s hitting streak to 11 games.

Ramirez has 49 stolen bases and 28 home runs this season. He’s attempting to become just the third player in major league history to reach 30 homers and 50 stolen bases following Eric Davis (37 homers, 50 stolen bases) in 1987 and Barry Bonds (33-52) in 1990.

Cabrera said that just because the Marlins have been eliminated, it doesn’t mean the games lose importance.

“These are games aren’t they?” Cabrera said. “You play games to win. We want to win.”

Notes

Jimenez’s fastball reached 100 mph on a pitch to Cabrera in the first inning. … 2B Kaz Matsui took ground balls Saturday, but there’s no timetable on his return. Matsui has been hampered by a right hamstring strain. … The Marlins tied a season high with five stolen bases. … It’s the first time Colorado has lost two straight at Coors Field since Aug. 22-23 against Pittsburgh.

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