Nolasco sets club wins mark against Rockies

Nolasco sets club wins mark against Rockies

Nolasco sets club wins mark against Rockies
MIAMI -- History was made for Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco in agonizing fashion.

Nolasco grinded out six innings, and delivered a critical two-run double, and then he watched the bullpen walk a tight-rope in Miami's 7-6 victory over the Rockies on Tuesday night in front of 22,242 at Marlins Park.

The victory was career No. 69 for Nolasco, making him the organization's all-time wins leader. The 29-year-old had been tied with Dontrelle Willis, who won 68 games from 2003-07.

"There are a lot of great pitchers that went by this organization," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "To stay that long as he did, he should be proud. For all the hard work he did over the years, and did it for one organization. I think it's a great thing. I'm glad to get it out of the way. He was waiting for that the last couple of starts."

But the 3-hour, 36-minute game was a battle until Heath Bell's final pitch, a 96 mph fastball taken for strike three by Todd Helton, which stranded Jordan Pacheco on third base.

"I was on the edge of my seat just like everyone else," said Nolasco, who watched the bullpen leave the potential tying run on third in the eighth and ninth innings. "It's awesome to watch when you bend, but don't break. Stuff like that.

"I guess this win had to be one of those games. It's just nice to get that one out of the way. A lot of guys said congratulations. I appreciate that from all my teammates now, and just thanks to the Marlins' organization for giving me the opportunity to be here this long and able to do something like that."

From a team standpoint, the Marlins have now won three straight, including the first two against the Rockies. In May, Miami is 16-5, matching the most wins the franchise has ever had in the month. The team also won 16 in 1996, 1997 and 2008.

Nolasco was credited with the win, and Bell notched his third save in as many days.

In the ninth, Bell got into an immediate bind by allowing a leadoff double to Pacheco.

Pacheco reached third on a groundout. With the infield in, Bell retired Troy Tulowitzki on a pop out to shortstop Jose Reyes.

The game ended with Helton looking at strike three.

"My mechanics are starting to feel good," said Bell, whose velocity was the highest it's been all season. "I feel like I can rear back and give a little bit more, and actually hit my spot. For a while, I haven't felt like that. I was trying to stay under control and hit my spots, and keeping the ball down, which were definitely what I wasn't doing last month."

The eighth inning was just as tension filled.

Edward Mujica got into trouble with Miami ahead 7-4.

The Rockies scored twice in the eighth on Wilin Rosario's RBI single and a throwing error by catcher John Buck, who was trying to pick off Michael Cuddyer at third. The throw went into left field, and Cuddyer's run made it 7-6. Rosario was on third with one out, when Ryan Webb replaced Randy Choate, who retired pinch-hitter Jason Giambi on a tapper in front of the plate.

Webb struck out pinch-hitter Eric Young, and Rosario was stranded at third when left fielder Chris Coghlan ran down Marco Scutaro's liner that was headed for the gap.

"He hit it to the gap," Coghlan said. "The way the lights are, they're all in a line. If it's hit a certain height, you can't really see it right way. I saw it, and I ran to a spot, and then it came out of the lights and I was able to make a play."

Webb's effort in the eighth was on par with what Bell did in the ninth.

"Scutaro is the guy I probably should have been wanting to strike out," Webb said. "I got ahead of him and was actually going for a strikeout there. Coghlan out there made a great play, running that ball down. That's how you win ball games, good defense and key plays like that."

Nolasco (5-2) had lost his two previous starts, before he struck out a season-high six on Tuesday.

After falling behind by three in the first, Nolasco provided the big hit of a three-run third inning. With two-out, he delivered a two-run double off Juan Nicasio.

Austin Kearns singled to open the third inning, and he scored from first on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI double, which tied the game at 3. With two out, Donnie Murphy was intentionally walked. Nolasco's double made it 5-3.

Kearns, who had a four-hit game on Monday and another hit on Tuesday, experienced tightness in his right hamstring while running the bases. In the top of the fourth, Kearns was replaced by Coghlan after Cuddyer's leadoff double to left.

Coghlan picked up where Kearns left off. In the fourth inning, Hanley Ramirez singled, stole second and moved to third when Rosario's throw went into center field. Coghlan dropped an RBI single to right, making it 6-3.

Nolasco had a rough first inning, giving up three runs on four hits. Helton had an RBI single and Cuddyer floated a broken-bat, run-scoring single to right. Rosario's sacrifice fly brought in the third run of the inning.

The Marlins acquired Nolasco from the Cubs after the 2005 season as part of the Juan Pierre trade. The right-hander is 69-53 in his career.

In the seventh inning, rookie Donovan Solano slapped a pinch-hit single in his first Major League at-bat. Solano made his big league debut on Monday night, playing the ninth inning at second base.

"I feel like we're coming together really well," Nolasco said. "We're starting to swing the bats a lot more. It's a lot easier to pitch when you have confidence your hitters are going to go out there and get you some runs."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.