x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Rockies bounce back to earn split against Marlins

Colorado maintained their hold on the National League wild card lead after Clint Barmes and Brad Hawpe hit two-run homers to help the Rockies beat the Florida Marlins 7-3.

MIAMI // Colorado maintained their hold on the National League wild card 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 double header 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 wild card race, and five games shy of the 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 wild card 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 wild card 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 wild card hunt. "This is a very good baseball club that we just faced," Colorado's 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 double header to Sunday, with both games going back-to-back after a 30-minute break. Most double headers are now day-night affairs. "To win a double header it's hard," the 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." * Reuters