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Nolasco goes distance, but falters in loss to Rox

Lee, Stanton homer, yet righty allows tying, go-ahead runs late

DENVER -- Ricky Nolasco threw his first complete game since July 9, 2011, on Thursday night. Unfortunately for both him and the Marlins, it was an eight-inning effort and resulted in a 5-3 loss to the Rockies.

"That's how funny this game is," said Nolasco, who tied his season high with seven strikeouts and threw 74 of 107 pitches for strikes. "You make good pitches all night and make a couple mistakes and that's the game."

The two pitches Nolasco regretted resulted in a two-run homer by Michael Cuddyer in the sixth that wiped out a 3-1 Marlins lead, and a triple by pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge in a two-run seventh when the Marlins' defense aided the Rockies.

DJ LeMahieu led off the seventh with a single and took second when catcher Rob Brantly, making his second big league start, tried to pick him off and threw the ball over first base on a missed bunt attempt by Jonathan Herrera.

"I saw him jump off first base when I knew the bunt was missed," Brantly said. "I took a shot and it didn't work out."

LeMahieu was sacrificed to third by Herrera, and pinch-hitter Rutledge tripled when right fielder Giancarlo Stanton overran the ball, tried to reach back and make a twisting catch, only to have the ball glance off his glove.

Rutledge hit an 0-2 slider that Nolasco said "was down but it wasn't a good 0-2 pitch with a guy on third and less than two outs."

Instead of having the bases empty with two outs after a sacrifice fly, the Rockies had a runner on third with one out. And they pulled off a successful squeeze bunt on a first-pitch drag bunt by Eric Young Jr. First baseman Carlos Lee fielded the ball barehanded on a bounce, and Rutledge easily beat his sidearm shovel throw home.

Cuddyer, who was activated Thursday after being on the disabled list with a right oblique strain, struck out in his first two at-bats, but then hit a two-run homer in the sixth off Nolasco.

"The adjustment I made was if you just swing at enough of them, he'll hang one at least," Cuddyer said. "Obviously, the ones I struck out on were in the dirt, and this one wasn't. That's basically it, really."

Nolasco, who struck out Cuddyer again on his final at-bat in the eighth, said of the slider that the slugger hit for his 16th homer, "Obviously didn't get that one down. Left it over the middle of the plate. To a hitter like that ... he's not going to miss that too often."

Stanton gave the Marlins a 3-1 lead when he led off the sixth with a homer to center off winning pitcher Adam Ottavino. It was Stanton's 22nd homer of the season, and his fourth in as many games at Coors Field.

Both teams scored on wild pitches, with the Marlins taking a 2-1 lead on one in the fourth, which was Alex White's final inning. He walked Lee, who had homered in the second, to lead off the fourth and gave up a one-out single to Greg Dobbs. Both runners moved up on a slow ground ball to shortstop Herrera, and Lee scored when White threw a wild pitch facing Brantly.

In his third plate appearance in the sixth, Brantly lined a double to right off Ottavino for his first Major League hit.

"It was pretty exciting when I hit the ball and saw it was going to find some grass," Brantly said. "Second thing I was thinking about was not getting thrown out at second base. But I was happy then when I got to second and excited to get the ball and everything."

After Lee hit his seventh homer in the second, the Rockies quickly evened the score in the bottom of the inning. LeMahieu tripled to left-center with two out. After Herrera was intentionally walked, Nolasco threw a wild pitch while facing White.

Brantly initially couldn't find the ball, which bounced to his right and rolled just beyond the dirt in the home plate area. By the time he retrieved it, LeMahieu was able to beat Brantly's throw and score.

"I looked to second a little bit," said Brantly, with the initial intention of maybe throwing there to try to get Herrera, "but even then I thought we had the guy at home plate. Just didn't get the call we wanted."

Nolasco, who threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of 34 batters, praised Brantly for the job he did behind the plate. So did manager Ozzie Guillen, despite Brantly's costly error in the seventh.

"I love his energy. I love the way he goes about his game," Guillen said. "It's our job to help him and get through the mistakes. There's more mistakes to come. Errors are just part of the game. But this kid brings a lot of great stuff for the game -- his energy, his enthusiasm. I think this kid wants to be good. He asks a lot of questions when he's in the game. Stuff like that is going to happen."

Jack Etkin is a contributor to
Read More: Miami Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton, Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Lee