Cantu extends hitting streak to 21 games as Marlins win

DENVER -- Ricky Nolasco worked the inside corner for his latest victory at Coors Field.

Nolasco allowed one run over eight innings and Dan Uggla and Brett Carroll each homered, leading the Florida Marlins past the Colorado Rockies 4-1 on Saturday in the opener of a doubleheader.

It was another dominant outing at the hitter-friendly park for Nolasco (2-0), who struck out a season-high nine and walked none. He improved to 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA at Coors Field.

"You have to be real careful in this ballpark," said Nolasco, who also credited catcher Ronny Paulino. "I was working well with Ronnie, keeping these guys off balance. You can't have them leaning over the plate because that's when they'll hurt you. So I pitched inside a little bit more."

Jorge Cantu singled in the third to drive in a run and extend his hitting streak to 21 games, including all 17 Marlins games this season. He finished 2009 with a hit in each of Florida's last four games.

The opener was a makeup of the first rainout in the majors this season on Friday night. In the nightcap, Nate Robertson started for the Marlins against Colorado's Aaron Cook.

Nolasco, who had a complete-game victory over Philadelphia in his previous start, probably could have finished again, but Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he didn't want him to overdo it.

"He would have gone back out there if we let him, but I tried to get another run out of it and add on a little bit," Gonzalez said.

Leo Nunez got three outs for his fourth save in five chances.

Though he graded Nolasco's last two outings as a double A-plus, Gonzalez also noted his pitch count.

"He went 109 and then 105 [against the Rockies], and then maybe it's a little bit more difficult in this altitude," he said.

The Rockies, though, were the ones running into difficulty against Nolasco.

"We weren't able to do much at all," manager Jim Tracy said. "We had seven hits and created a couple of opportunities for ourselves, but we couldn't capitalize.

"Nolasco got better as he went on. Our left-hand hitters could do nothing with his slider."

Greg Smith (1-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings, including solo shots by Uggla in the second and Carroll in the third.

With two outs in the third, Smith, who is in the Rockies' rotation in place of injured Jeff Francis, hit Gaby Sanchez with a pitch. Hanley Ramirez singled and Cantu lined a single to center, putting the Marlins up 3-0.

Colorado broke a 12-inning scoreless drought at Coors Field in the fourth on Ian Stewart's RBI single, but Florida added another run in the sixth when Uggla doubled and scored on Carroll's sacrifice fly.

Nunez's leadoff walk of Todd Helton in the ninth was his first in his last five outings.

Games notes

The opener was preceded by a moment of silence and video tribute for Rockies team president Keli McGregor, who died Tuesday at age 48 while on a business trip in Salt Lake City. A memorial service will be held Sunday at Coors Field ahead of the series finale between the Marlins and Rockies. ... Colorado OF Brad Hawpe left in the top of the fifth with tightness in his left quadriceps. ... Cantu's hitting streak is the longest by a Marlins player since Kevin Millar had a 25-game stretch in 2002. ... Marlins starting pitchers have worked at least six innings 13 times. They have a 7-3 combined record.