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With win Wednesday Marlins can close out winningest road trip ever

HOUSTON -- The Marlins can no longer close out their nine-game road trip with a perfect record, but they can still make history with a win Wednesday at Minute Maid Park over the Astros.

Until now, the most victories the Marlins have picked up on a road trip is seven. They did it twice -- going 7-5 from June 13-26, 2005 (Cubs, Dodgers, Braves, Rays) and 7-4 from May 28-June 6, 2007 (Cubs, Brewers, Braves).

But with a win Wednesday the Fish will have finished this road trip through San Francisco, San Diego and Houston with an 8-1 record. 

Technically, their best road trip was when they went a perfect 5-0 from May 13-18th, 1997 (with two wins in Atlanta and three in Pittsburgh). But most wins on a road trip certainly sounds better doesn't it?

The key of course on this road trip has been dominant starting pitching. Even though the team's seven-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday night, Anibal Sanchez delivered another quality start, giving up two unearned runs over seven innings.

Marlins starters have combined to post an eye-opening ERA of 1.77 on the trip -- and that's including the six earned runs Josh Johnson gave up in just 2 2/3 innings in San Diego last Friday.

Take away JJ's horrific outing and the other four guys -- Sanchez, Carlos Zambrano, Mark Buehrle and Ricky Nolasco -- have combined for a 0.84 ERA in six starts. That's five earned runs in 53 1/3 innings of work on the road.

Zambrano has been the best of them all, leading the way with 16 scoreless innings and allowing just eight hits while striking out 14. He tossed his first complete game shutout in three years Monday against the Astros.

Sanchez, meanwhile, struck out 13 in 14 innings of work and allowed just one earned run, lowering his ERA to 2.04 on the year. He went into Wednesday's game as the National League leader in strikeouts.

Buehrle tossed a complete game at San Diego, giving up one run, a day after the bullpen was exhausted in a 12-inning victory.

Nolasco won both of his starts and gave up just three runs in 14 1/3 innings. In the process, Nolasco tied Dontrelle Willis’ club record with 68 wins.

> Check back later for tonight's lineup against the Astros.