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Are the Marlins turning it around?

PHILADELPHIA -- Ever since their 11-1 start the Florida Marlins have been going in the opposite direction. For every step forward, it's been two, three, four steps back.

This week, though, they might have finally figured out the way to snap out of their funk. It's called starting pitching. Remember that three week period when Marlins starters couldn't buy a win? Remember when the Marlins bullpen, the most overworked in the bigs, was eating innings like cops at a donut shop?

Marlins starters have stepped it up. Burke Badenhop's five innings Wednesday were huge and followed the current trend Fish starters began last weekend against the Rays.

Since Josh Johnson's start Sunday (their last four outings) the rotation has combined to go 2-0 in 24-2/3 innings, giving up just eight earned runs (2.91 ERA) while striking out 14 and walking 10. If not for Joe Blanton's best start of the season Tuesday, the Marlins might be on a four-game winning streak.

"You usually play as good as your starting pitching," Marlins manager Gonzalez said. "You hate to cover five, six innings every night. It can't work. It doesn't work. We had JJ, Volly, Miller and now even today. Hopefully we keep rolling and have guys go deep in ball games."

> It's a bit of a strange stat. But the Marlins improved 4-0 in the last four games Hanley Ramirez hasn't played. The Marlins won their last two against the Mets April 28-29 and then the opener against the Cubs on April 30 when Ramirez was nursing a bruised wrist. Wednesday was win No. 4.

> Dan Uggla hit another home run against Brett Myers -- that's five, more than any other pitcher he's faced. Uggla has also homered in five of his last nine games. Of his last nine hits, five have been homers.

> Cody Ross got three hits for the second consecutive game. He went 7 for 12 against the Phillies with a homer and two RBI.

> Be sure to check out the postgame audio I uploaded after the game. Listen to manager Fredi Gonzalez, pitcher Burke Badenhop and second baseman Dan Uggla field questions from me and the rest of the Marlins beat writers.

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