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Marlins will put best road record in majors on line vs. Giants with Volstad on the mound

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Marlins 5-1 win over the Giants Tuesday night did more than move them to within a game of the Phillies in the NL East. It also upped their road record to 13-7, giving them the best road winning percentage in baseball (.650).

Yeah, it's early. But considering six of the eight playoff teams in baseball in 2010 had a winning record on the road, one could argue it is vital for the Marlins' playoff chances that they stay close to or above .500 away from Sun Life Stadium. Last season, the Marlins finished 39-42 on the road and 80-82 overall.

They've only finished .500 or better on the road twice in franchise history -- going 41-41 in 2004 and 44-37 in 2009, when they finished 87-75 (the third best record in franchise history).

> Wednesday night starter Chris Volstad (2-3, 5.73 ERA in eight starts) said Tuesday he thinks he's close to snapping out of his struggles.

"I feel like I'm just doing a good job keeping the ball down in the zone and attacking a lot better," said Volstad, who gave up four hits and three earned runs in five innings against the Cubs in his last start May 19. "I think I had nine ground ball outs in five innings. So I know I'm down, being aggressive and pitching more like I did at the end of last season. It's a big boost."

Volstad is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in two previous starts against the Giants. The last time he was out here, he threw a complete game shutout on 105 pitches, giving up just five hits and striking out six. But he knows this Giants lineup will be different than the last one he faced.

"The thing with these guys is you have to keep the game close because their pitchers are real good too," Volstad said. "The key is keeping it close and if you do have a rough inning, limit the damage. You just really need to get ahead, that's like with any team. You fall behind, they have some guys that do some damage."

> We should find out later today how Josh Johnson's first day of catch went and how his right shoulder is feeling. We may also find out who Saturday's starter against the Dodgers might be.

Another option I forgot to mention yesterday is former Astros pitcher Chris Sampson, a 33-year old right-hander who has 36 career starts and is 20-15 with 4.42 ERA. Sampson, signed by the Marlins April 23, pitched for the first time in Triple A New Orleans Monday and tossed six scoreless innings, giving up six hits and one unearned run with seven strikeouts. He is 12-12 with a 4.63 ERA lifetime as a starter.

WEDNESDAY'S LINEUP

> Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan CF, 2. Hanley Ramirez SS, 3. Logan Morrison LF, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 5. Mike Stanton RF, 6. John Buck C, 7. Wes Helms 3B, 8. Omar Infante 2B, 9. Chris Volstad P.

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