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MIA@PIT: Koehler fans eight over five innings

Wins simply seem to materialize for the Marlins when the Rockies arrive in South Florida.

The Marlins are 51-30 against Colorado in Miami, their .630 home winning percentage their best among any league opponent in franchise history. So even after the Marlins dropped three of four to the Dodgers heading into the series, with the 6-0 loss Thursday pushing them 30 games under .500, they have reason to be optimistic when they start a three-game set with the Rockies on Friday at Marlins Park.

Tom Koehler will start the opener against the Rockies, which closes out the Marlins' 10-game homestand. Koehler has struggled with his command, walking 12 in his last five starts, and allowed three runs over five innings in his last start, a no-decision against the Giants.

"At the beginning of any series, you want to set the tone," Koehler said. "You want to set the tone from a pitching standpoint, and set the bar for what you want the guys to do the rest of the way."

Though he's allowed at least three earned runs and failed to make it through the sixth inning in his last three starts, Koehler has a consistent record of success against the National League West. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA in five starts against the division, tossing seven innings of one-run ball and striking out seven in a July 22 victory at Coors Field.

The Rockies will hope their most consistent pitcher on the mound in Jhoulys Chacin -- who is 0-5 against the Fish in six career starts -- is the right man to slow Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton extended his season-high hitting streak to nine games with a double Thursday. Since the streak began, he's launched three homers, driven in five runs and scored six more since that streak began.

After lasting at least seven innings in five straight starts, Chacin took a step back -- but not a dramatic one -- in a Sunday loss to the Orioles. He allowed nine hits and three runs in 5 1/3 and has pitched at least five innings in all 24 of his starts this year.

The Rockies have struggled immensely on the road since the end of July, but will try to clear an important hurdle against the Phillies Thursday night by picking up their first road series split in nearly six weeks.

Marlins: Young starters among Majors' best
Scoring has amounted to an extensive struggle for the Marlins this season. But starting pitching has been the club's saving grace, as Miami's rotation boasts the Majors' third-lowest ERA since June 16.

Though Henderson Alvarez surrendered five earned runs in Thursday's loss, it marked just the 12th time in the Marlins' last 59 games that the starter allowed more than three runs. Miami's starters have a 3.32 ERA over that stretch, trailing only the Dodgers and Rays.

The rotation has served up just 19 homers over since mid-June, leading all big league rotations.

Rockies: Weiss backs his closer
In his third game back from the disabled list, Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt blew his second save of the year on Wednesday night. On Thursday, he blew his second save in as many nights, exiting with a sprained right elbow during the Phillies' rally in the ninth en route a 5-4 walk-off win.

Betancourt, who is scheduled for an MRI on Monday, allowed three hits and two runs on Wednesday and two runs on two hits on Thursday. He has 16 saves in 19 attempts this year. He sat out more than a month after an emergency appendectomy, throwing two scoreless innings in his first two appearances after returning.

"No one is perfect, especially in that role," manager Walt Weiss said. "But I've said it before, give me a one-run lead, and I'll go with Raffy every time."

• Weiss said righty Roy Oswalt pitched a productive simulated game on Thursday and could throw in another one on Sunday or Monday. The veteran has been sidelined since July 4 with a left hamstring strain.

Worth noting
• Koehler averaged just 2.37 walks per nine innings in his first 11 starts, but that's jumped to 5.13 per nine over his last five outings.

• In his lone start against Miami this year, Chacin gave up seven hits and three runs in seven innings at Coors Field July 23.

• Chacin has drawn opposing hitters into 22 double plays, tied for second-most in the NL behind Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. Comments