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Rockies-Marlins Preview

AP - Sports

The Colorado Rockies' woes continued Monday as they failed to hold on to an early lead during their series opener against the Miami Marlins.

A matchup with Ricky Nolasco might give the Rockies the chance to take a step toward ending those struggles and avoid a season-high sixth straight loss Tuesday night.

Colorado (15-26) appeared to be finally heading in the right direction with a four-run first inning in Monday night's opener, capped by Troy Tulowitzki's second homer in five games.

The Marlins (23-19), though, responded with five runs in the fifth inning of a 7-4 victory.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a go-ahead, 438-foot grand slam that knocked out lights on the scoreboard, and Austin Kearns had his first four-hit game since 2006 while driving in a pair of runs.

"We get four hits and four runs with the first five hitters in the game and we get one hit and two walks from the second inning on," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

The loss was the 14th in 17 games for Tracy's club, its eighth in the last 11 on the road and fifth over the last six contests in Miami.

Colorado might have a chance to start snapping out of its slump against Nolasco (4-2, 4.10 ERA), who is 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA over his last two starts. The Rockies also tagged the right-hander for a career-high 11 runs and 11 hits in three innings in their most recent game against him Aug. 17 at Coors Field.

Nolasco was 5-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his previous five matchups but heads into this one following a 7-0 loss Thursday in Atlanta. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning after giving up four runs, seven hits and a walk.

That performance denied Nolasco the chance to own the Marlins' career wins record. He is currently tied with Dontrelle Willis at 68.

"Didn't get a break," Nolasco told the team's website "Thought I threw the ball pretty well. Felt good. Just the result wasn't what I or the team wanted."

Nolasco's counterpart for Tuesday's game, Juan Nicasio (2-1, 4.37), hasn't gotten a result he's wanted over the last two games despite allowing one run in each. The right-hander hasn't received a decision in either contest and inefficiency plagued him in his most recent appearance Thursday.

Nicasio racked up 106 pitches in 4 2-3 innings and matched a career high with five walks during a 9-7 loss to Arizona. He pitched most of that game with soreness after he was hit in the right thigh by a line drive in the first inning.

Last year, Nicasio needed emergency surgery for a cracked vertebra and to attach a small metal plate to the back of his neck when he was hit in the right temple.

"It was sore a little bit. I couldn't push because it was hard. I couldn't push off. I was only throwing with my arm and my shoulder,'' Nicasio said. "It will be all right."

The right-hander has never faced the Marlins, who are a major league-best 15-5 in May with most of those victories coming during a seven-game streak to open the month.

Miami might get some help in its quest to earn another victory with Omar Infante potentially returning Tuesday. The second baseman, who left Sunday to attend a family funeral in his native Venezuela, is batting .371 with 12 RBIs over the last 16 games.

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