MIAMI(AP) In a season of big streaks, the
are suddenly back in the hunt in the NL East.
pitched five effective innings, five Florida players had at least one RBI and the Marlins beat the
8-6 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.
''It was nice to come out and not be flat,'' Marlins catcher
said, referring to the Marlins' first game since a three-game sweep at Philadelphia.
Baker had two RBIs, and NL batting leader
had two singles and an RBI to help chase starter
(7-8) after five innings.
Florida moved within 3 1/2 games of idle Philadelphia for the NL East lead.
VandenHurk (2-1) struck out four and allowed two runs and five hits.
''It wasn't feeling like a good outing early on, but we scored some runs and it allowed me to keep attacking,'' VandenHurk
had a home run and three RBIs for Houston.
Florida lost three straight last week to the last-place
and appeared on the verge of a complete collapse. The Marlins then went into Philadelphia for the sweep that recharged their
Flopping after many big wins this season, Florida avoided any kind of a letdown.
Baker hit a two-run double in the first to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead.
had an RBI single and
added a sacrifice fly in the inning to put Florida ahead 4-0.
''It was really big,'' Baker said of the fast start. It prevented us from having any kind of a letdown coming off a big sweep
singled in the second, Erstad hit a towering home run to right to cut the deficit in half.
hit an RBI single in the sixth after Baker scored on a balk by
. Later in the inning, Astros manager
decided to intentionally walk
with two outs and a runner on second to have Sampson face Ramirez, who ripped a single to left that put Florida ahead 7-2.
''We're not built to fight back like that,'' Cooper said. ''We did give it a pretty good go. We got to two runs down, but
we've got to shut it down once we do get back in the game there. We got back in the game 4-2, but we just couldn't close the
door and shut them off.''
An RBI double by Erstad in the seventh made it 7-3 and
doubled and scored from third on a wild pitch by
in the eighth to restore the five-run lead.
had a two-run double in the ninth off
, and he scored on a balk by
, who got the last two outs for his 12th save.
''We got close then turned around and went in a different way,'' Lee said. ''We need to score some runs and give the pitcher
something to work with. The pitchers feel like they can't make a mistake because we're not scoring runs.''
NOTES: Cooper said before the game that even though RHP
(sore back) appears healthy and ready to make his first start in about two weeks on Tuesday, he won't know for sure until
the right-hander throws in a live game. ''I've got my fingers crossed,'' Cooper said. ... Marlins RHP
(sprained shoulder) will throw about 90 pitches Wednesday in a rehab start with Double-A Jacksonville, manager Fredi Gonzalez
said. Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter in September 2006 for Florida, was placed on the 60-day DL on July 12.