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August 18, 2009

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Rockies, Marlins split doubleheader

COLORADO maintained its hold on the National League wildcard lead after Clint Barmes and Brad Hawpe hit two-run homers to help the Rockies beat the Florida Marlins 7-3 for a split of their doubleheader on Sunday.

Jorge De La Rosa (11-8) struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings to get his ninth win in his last 10 decisions as Colorado remained 1.5 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the wildcard race, and five games shy of NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

In Major League Baseball, the team that holds the best record in each league outside the three division winners is awarded the wildcard play-off spot.

"Every win we can get is a big win," Barmes said. "There is no game we can give away at this point.

"We're battling for the wildcard and we still think we have a shot at the division too, so every game is important. Losing two today would have been pretty bad."

Florida won the opener 10-3 as Chris Volstad (9-9) pitched five strong innings and added a two-run single in a five-run second inning.

Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan also homered for the Marlins, who ended the day two games behind the Rockies in the wildcard hunt.

"This is a very good baseball club that we just faced," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "Their approach, to their credit, was relentless. We had to work really hard in the second game to win the game."

Rain on Saturday night forced the rare traditional doubleheader to Sunday, with both games going back-to-back after a 30-minute break. Most doubleheaders are now day-night affairs.

"To win a doubleheader it's hard," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We left it all out there in the second game to get back in it."

De La Rosa allowed seven hits and just one unearned run, walking three to go with his nine strikeouts to continue his run of good form.

In the opener, Volstad got plenty of support, as the Marlins raced to a 6-1 lead after just two innings.

"The team did another great job of scoring runs," Volstad said. "You can't ask for anything more as a pitcher."

In other NL action, Randy Wolf finished a triple short of the cycle and pitched neatly into the eighth innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks that snapped a three-game skid in the American League.

Elsewhere, it was: Phillies 4, Braves 1; Astros 8, Brewers 5; Nationals 5, Reds 4; Mets 3, Giants 2; and Cardinals 7, Padres 5.

In the American League, Torii Hunter celebrated his return from the disabled list by driving in the go-ahead run in a nine-run 13th inning as the Los Angeles Angels outlasted the Baltimore Orioles 17-8.

In other AL action, it was: Rangers 4, Red Sox 3; Royals 3, Tigers 2, 10 innings; Rays 5, Blue Jays 2; Indians 7, Twins 4; Athletics 3, White Sox 2; and Mariners 10, Yankees 3.


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