PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Volstad could have lost his cool when Ryan Howard tattoed his second home run of the game off him to start the sixth inning Monday night. The 22-year old right-hander could have put the Marlins tired bullpen in another predicament.
But he didn't. He kept working. And he picked up five more huge outs for the Marlins, who instead of blowing another lead, added to it and protected it one of the few times this month. Wes Helms will get most of the credit for the Marlins win, but nothing means more to this team right now than getting efforts like they got from Volly.
"We had a good outing yesterday by JJ and another good one by Volly in a tough ballpark and that’s a good sign," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Now, we got to get that rolling a little bit, hope our starters keep it going."
The Marlins won back-to-back games for only the third time since their 11-1 start and for the first time since they won the first two at Colorado.
Volstad was able to make that happen because his curveball was working. After the game, he admitted he's been using it more and keeping hitters off more. It was the first thing Gonzalez talked about.
"I think it all started with that curveball," Gonzalez said. "It didn’t look like they were taking very good swings off him. They were pounding the strike zone. You are going to give up home runs to a hitter like Howard, who is a hell of a hitter. But I’m very encouraged by the way he pitched, the way he kept his cool."