Marlins 4, Astros 0

JUPITER, Fla. -- Right-hander Ricky Nolasco turned in another solid start Sunday, allowing one hit in 7 1/3 scoreless innings as the Florida Marlins beat the Houston Astros 4-0.

Nolasco retired the first 16 batters he faced before Jason Castro lined a single to right with one out in the sixth inning.

Nolasco had one minor flaw: He issued his first walk of the spring, missing on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the eighth inning. After the walk, which came on his 95th pitch, Nolasco left to a standing ovation at Roger Dean Stadium.

"It's probably the worst way to end a day there," Nolasco said. "It's frustrating, especially being 0-2 to that guy. That just cant happen. I don't care how many walks I have or don't have."

Nolasco has a 1.78 ERA and 23 strikeouts in five starts over 27 1/3 innings, including two innings March 3 against the University of Miami.

"I'm just trying to keep the ball and let the defense work for me," he said. "There's nothing more I can ask for. All I can try and do is let that carry over into the year and try to help this team win ballgames."

Nolasco, who went 13-9 with a 5.06 ERA, will be the Marlins' No. 2 starter after Josh Johnson. He'll get one more start -- Friday against the Marlins' Double-A team in Jacksonville -- and be limited to 50 pitches.

Gaby Sanchez bolstered his case for the Marlins' first base job by hitting his second homer of the spring. He's batting .409.

Houston right-hander Felipe Paulino, who's making a bid for a rotation spot, allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

He retired the first two batters in the sixth before Dan Uggla doubled. Ronny Paulino then hit a grounder to shortstop Edwin Maysonet, whose throw sailed into the Houston dugout for a two-base error.

Paulino came into the game having allowed five earned runs and seven walks in 11 innings. In his previous start, he struck out six and allowed one run in five innings March 23 against Pittsburgh.

"He's starting to set himself apart. He's doing a really good job," Astros manager Brad Mills said.

Game notes
Marlins right fielder Cody Ross is scheduled to return to the lineup Monday. He's been out since March 23 with a cramp in his right calf. ... Astros first baseman Lance Berkman, who had knee surgery two weeks ago, took swings in the batting cage in Kissimmee. No word yet on whether he'll start the season on the disabled list. "Hopefully in a day or two we'll be able to answer that question with a little more certainty," Mills said.