Sanchez lifts Marlins past Astros 5-4 in 11th

By Steven Wine

Associated Press

Published: Friday, April 13 2012 9:15 p.m. MDT

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, April 13, 2012, in Miami.

Lynne Sladky, Associated Press

MIAMI — Gaby Sanchez doubled in the 11th inning to score Chris Coghlan from first base, and the Miami Marlins beat the Houston Astros 5-4 Friday night.

Coghlan started the 11th with a sharp single that deflected off pitcher Brandon Lyon (0-1) for an infield hit before Sanchez pulled an 0-2 pitch that hit off the base of the fence in left field, and Coghlan slid home without a throw.

The game was the Marlins' first at home since manager Ozzie Guillen began serving a five-game suspension for praising Fidel Castro. Guillen's remarks inflamed Cuban Americans, but there were no group demonstrations. Announced attendance for only the second game in the 36,442-seat ballpark was 30,169.

Miami native J.D. Martinez hit the first home run in the ballpark, a two-run shot for Houston in the eighth inning off Edward Mujica to tie it 4-all. Martinez, who grew up a Marlins fan, also singled and scored, and he has at least one hit in all seven Astros games.

The game was the road opener for the Astros, who last year went 25-56 in away games, worst in the majors, and lost all four they played in Miami.

With the retractable roof closed for the first time, the Astros hit two balls to the warning track before Martinez's homer. Omar Infante had a warning-track flyout in the 10th, but the Marlins failed to homer and have yet to activate the animated home-run sculpture beyond the center field wall.

Miami newcomer Heath Bell, who blew his only save opportunity this season, survived a shaky ninth to keep the score tied. He retired the first two batters but then threw 13 consecutive balls to walk the bases loaded. Carlos Lee then tapped out on a check swing.

Ryan Webb (1-0) pitched a perfect 11th.

Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco needed 90 pitches to get through five innings but gave up only two runs. Houston's Lucas Harrell, coming off the best start of his career, lasted only four innings and allowed four runs.

The Marlins took a 4-2 lead into the eighth, but Jed Lowrie singled to start the inning, and Martinez homered into the nightclub seating area in left field.

Infante's aggressiveness on the bases paid off for Miami in the third. He kept running from first on a grounder to third baseman Chris Johnson, who ranged to his left and threw out the batter. When Infante kept going, Harrell scrambled to cover third, but the throw from first baseman Lee eluded him for an error, allowing the runner to score easily.

The Marlins had scored a total of two runs in their past two games, and they matched that productivity in the first inning. Giancarlo Stanton doubled home a run with two out, and Infante followed with an RBI single.

Miami added a run in the second on Harrell's bases-loaded, two-out wild pitch.

Infante, who began the day leading the NL in total bases, went 2 for 5 and is batting .367. Sanchez came into the game batting .125 but had three hits.

The Astros scored in the first when Jordan Schafer led off with a walk, stole second and came home on a single by Lowrie, batting for the first time after missing the first six games with a sprained right thumb.

Jason Castro earned his first RBI of the year with a two-out single in the fourth.

Notes: The Marlins, Miami Heat and Florida Panthers all played at home, the first time that has happened on the same day since April 14, 2002. ... Miami's Hanley Ramirez, off to a 4-for-30 start (.133), was on the field nearly four hours before the game hitting off a tee. ... Marlins SS Jose Reyes committed two errors, increasing his season total to three. He had 18 last year for the Mets. ... Astros manager Brad Mills doesn't think much of the colorful home-run sculpture but likes the ballpark's appearance otherwise. "It looks better in center field looking toward home plate," he said. "I'll leave it at that." ... Johnson tumbled headfirst into the first row to catch Emilio Bonifacio's pop foul.

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