SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The Florida Marlins have gradually been working their way back above .500, back into playoff contention.
Dan Uggla(notes) and Mike Stanton(notes) each hit solo homers and the Marlins moved above the .500 mark for the first time since early June with a 4-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.
“Finally we’re above .500. That’s good news,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “We all knew that we were trying to get there. Whatever we’re trying to accomplish here, we all knew that we had to go over .500. Tonight was a big step for us.”
The Marlins kicked off a key seven-game West Coast trip against the Giants and the NL West-leading San Diego Padres. Florida went 7-3 on its recent homestand, including six wins by one run and four via walkoff hits.
This one had its own drama.
Coghlan’s injury was revealed in an MRI Monday. He was hurt while delivering a pie in the face to teammate Wes Helms(notes) following the pinch-hitter’s bases-loaded single in the 11th inning of a 5-4 win against Atlanta on Sunday.
If Coghlan needs surgery, he would likely be sidelined six to eight weeks. Coghlan was batting .268 with five home runs and 28 RBIs.
Ricky Nolasco(notes) (11-7) struck out seven and allowed four hits and one run in 6 1-3 strong innings to win for the sixth time in seven starts. Cody Ross(notes) had a sacrifice fly and Stanton added an insurance RBI double in the eighth.
Barry Zito(notes) (8-6), the first of three lefty starters Florida will face this series, lost for the first time in seven career starts against the Marlins and the Giants had their four-game winning streak snapped. This series is a matchup of two surging teams trying to stay in the playoff chase.
Florida is 50-49, above .500 for the first time since the club was 28-27 on June 3.
“We knew we had a big game going today just to get over that hump for that first time in a while,” Nolasco said.
The Giants’ Aaron Rowand(notes) rounded the bases after hitting what was ultimately ruled a two-run homer in the seventh. A fan appeared to interfere on the play by sticking his glove over the outstretched arm of leaping left fielder Emilio Bonifacio(notes) and catching the ball. Rodriguez came out to make his case and the umpires came together then headed for the replay booth.
The home run stood, making it a 3-2 game. It was Rowand’s first career pinch-hit homer.
“He said that they only had one shot to make a call and the angle that they had, they had the ball over the fence,” Rodriguez said. “He said the fan touched it but the ball was over the fence. Then again I have to rely on whatever he’s telling me.”
Posey held a Barry Bonds-like pregame press conference in the dugout and received a rousing ovation when announced before first pitch.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said of chasing McCovey’s mark.
Florida capitalized against Zito after the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner had been 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA in his first six starts against Florida with a .197 batting average against.
Marlins third baseman Jorge Cantu(notes) was back in the starting lineup after getting a day off Sunday following his two errors in a loss to Atlanta on Saturday night. While Rodriguez said he’d already planned to rest Cantu on Sunday, the infielder said it was news to him when he arrived in the clubhouse.
Cantu is among the Florida players considered to be on the trading block.
“Right now my priority is the Marlins,” he said. “We’ll see, man. I’m going to keep playing hard and helping my team win.”
The Giants just spent 18 of their last 22 games away from AT&T Park beginning, going 16-6 during that span to close in on San Diego.
San Francisco swept a three-game series with the Marlins in Miami from May 4-6.
Notes: Giants INF-OF Eugenio Velez(notes) was examined again Monday after he was struck on the head by a foul ball in the dugout against the Diamondbacks on Saturday and spent the night in the hospital. He has a concussion, but wasn’t experiencing any headaches two days after the accident. … Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval(notes) missed his second straight game to deal with a personal matter in his native Venezuela. He was expected to rejoin the Giants on Tuesday during batting practice but manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t plan to start him. … The Giants are looking for an LHP reliever and former 20-game winner Dontrelle Willis(notes) could be the guy. He signed a minor league contract July 15 and could be ready in a couple of weeks. Willis was designated for assignment by Arizona earlier this month. … The Marlins planned to call up outfielder Logan Morrison(notes) from Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday.