BY CLARK SPENCER
SAN FRANCISCO – The Marlins are back in the black.
With a 4-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday, the surging Marlins crawled back above .500 for the first time since June 3 and made further inroads in the division and wild card standings.
It was the Marlins’ ninth win in their past 12 games.
Typical of most of their recent wins, though, it wasn’t easy. Eight of the nine victories have been by two runs or less, and they had to survive a nail-biting finish to prevail on Monday.
Ricky Nolasco led the way on the mound while rookie Mike Stanton drove in a pair of runs with a double and his eighth home run. Dan Uggla also added a solo shot as the Marlins closed to within 5 ½ games of the Giants in the wild-card race and moved into a third-place tie with the New York Mets in the N.L. East – 7 ½ games behind the Braves.
The win for Nolasco was his fifth in his past six decisions.
And the Marlins finally pinned a loss on Giants left-hander Barry Zito. Zito was 5-0 against the Marlins, the only team in the majors that had never defeated him.
Uggla put the Marlins on the board in the fourth with a solo home run, his 19th of the season and his 140th as Marlin – three behind Mike Lowell on the club’s all-time list.
Stanton connected with a home run off Zito on the fifth to make it 2-0, and the Marlins increased the lead to 3-0 in the sixth on Cody Ross’s sacrifice fly.
Nolasco (11-7) held the Giants to four hits over 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven.
The Marlins were leading 3-0 in the seventh when their fortunes took a turn for the worse. After Nolasco gave up a one-out walk to Pat Burrell, Taylor Tankersley was brought in to face Travis Ishikawa. But the Giants countered by sending up Aaron Rowand to pinch-hit, and he hit Tankersley’s second pitch for a controversial home run.
A fan in the left field bleachers reached out with his glove to make the catch before Emilio Bonifacio could get his glove on it. But after reviewing replays, umpires decided that it was not fan interference and let the home run stand.
The past few games have turned out poorly for Tankersley, who has given up six runs, including a pair of home runs, without recording an out over his past three outings.
After Stanton doubled off the wall to drive in the run and make it 4-2, the bullpen preserved the win, with Clay Hensley pitching the eighth and Leo Nunez working the ninth for his 24th save, though not without tension.
The Giants came up with a run in the ninth before Nunez struck out Edgar Renteria with the tying run on third to end the game.