Spring Training 2013 Recap: Miami Marlins 4, Houston Astros 9

USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins suffered a loss to the Houston Astros earlier today thanks to four home runs off of starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco.

The Miami Marlins were looking good in their last few spring training outings, but they ran into a surprising buzz saw of offense in the Houston Astros, who put up nine runs against the Fish en route to a 9-4 win. The big culprit of today's loss was Ricky Nolasco, who was pummeled over three innings and gave up four home runs.

Nolasco Destroyed

Ricky Nolasco was absolutely demolished by the Astros' hitters, as he gave up seven runs on four homers in just three innings of work. Some of the hitters who smacked long balls were expected candidates. Free agent pickup Carlos Pena hit one in the first inning to drive two in. First baseman Brett Wallace followed with a solo shot in the first as well. Chris Carter, the first baseman / outfielder acquired from the Oakland Athletics, also went deep.

But no homer was as surprising and a little disappointing as the one from former Marlins prospect Matt Dominguez, who hit his second of the spring. Dominguez was part of the 13-hit parade the Astros put up on the Marlins that included eight hits allowed by Nolasco. Dominguez now is hitting .381/.480/.810 this spring.

On the bright side, Nolasco did strike out four batters with only two walks, but the long balls destroyed any chance of a passable outing. His stuff apparently just was not there today and he got shelled by pitches in the zone to powerful hitters.

Kouzmanoff Stays Hot

If there was a positive on the Marlins' side, it was that the team's hot hitters remained hot. Kevin Kouzmanoff, the minor league signing expected to compete for a bench role at third or first base, continued his solid spring with his third homer of the preseason. His two-hit performance brought his line up to .400/.400/1.000 in 20 plate appearances. If he keeps hitting this well, the Marlins may try to find him a spot despite the team already playing a relatively inflexible backup in Greg Dobbs.

Donovan Solano also had two hits and raised his line up to .500/.500/.571. He happened to hit his second double and extra-base hit overall in the spring as well. And let us not forget that Christian Yelich got a hit in three appearances and scored one of the Marlins' four runs. He put the ball in play each time and once again avoided the strikeout in today's game.

Next Game: Wednesday. March 12, 7:05 PM EST, vs. Atlanta Braves (Televised on Fox Sports Florida)

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