The Marlins' 9-game road trip started with a bang Friday night at Minute Maid Park. And we don't just mean the bang Hanley Ramirez took courtesy of a dirty-ish slide from Bill Hall.
Ricky Nolasco gave the Marlins 8 strong innings, Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison both had 3-for-4 nights, Chris Coghlan drove in half the Marlins runs, and backup catcher Brett hayes had a good night both at and behind the plate to lift the Fish to their first road win of the season.
Nolasco went eight innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits, striking out two and not issuing a single free pass. The bad news for the Marlins was that Wandy Rodriguez did a good job of matching Ricky, and held the Fish scoreless through six innings, allowing just one run in his seven innings of work.
The Astros scored their first run in the third inning on a J.R. Towles solo shot to give Houston the one-run lead, and then both starters traded scoreless innings until the seventh, when the Marlins tied up the game. Brett Hayes doubled, and Ricky helped out his own cause with a single to move him to third before an RBI groundout from Chris Coghlan tied up the score.
In the bottom of the inning, the Astros untied it. They grabbed a 1-run lead when Chris Johnson's RBI single scored Brett Wallace, who had doubled. In a scary moment for the Marlins and their fans, Bill Hall made a questionable slide into Hanley, who was trying to turn a double play on a Towles groundout. Hanley was beyond the bag at second, his back was to the runner, and Hall slid after the bag. Hanley had to be helped off of the field, and it was later announced that he has a left leg contusion, and is day-to-day.
Either the slide and Hanley's injury got the Fish fired up, or Wilton Lopez just didn't have a good inning on the mound in relief of Rodriguez. Whichever the case, the Marlins scored twice in the eighth, and took the lead.
With one out, Greg Dobbs and Gaby singled to put runners at first and second. LoMo doubled to plate Dobbs, and Donnie Murphy's infield single drove in Gaby to give the Fish a 3-2 lead.
Chris Coghlan added an insurance run in the ninth, going deep against Jeff Fulchino to make it 4-2, Marlins.
It's a good thing Cogz did purchase the insurance, because the Fish would need it to avoid yet another extra innings game. Leo Nunez went the Save-With-Drama route, and gave up a home run to Brett Wallace to bring the Astros within a run. With two out, Towles singles, and was replaced by pinch runner Jason Bourgeois.
It was Brett Hayes who ended up with the save for the Marlins. With Joe Inglett batting, Hayes threw out Jason Bourgeois trying to steal second, and the Marlins took game one of the series.