Rick VandenHurk pitched five effective innings, five Florida players had at least one RBI and the Marlins beat the visiting Houston Astros, 8-6, last night for their fourth straight win.

John Baker had two RBI, and NL batting leader Hanley Ramirez had two singles and an RBI to help chase starter Brian Moehler (7-8) after five innings. Florida moved within 3 1/2 games of the idle Phillies for the NL East lead.

VandenHurk (2-1) struck out four and allowed two runs and five hits.

"It wasn't feeling like a good outing early on, but we scored some runs and it allowed me to keep attacking," VandenHurk said.

Florida lost three straight last week to last-place Washington and appeared on the verge of a complete collapse. The Marlins then went into Philadelphia for a three-game sweep and recharged their postseason hopes.

Baker hit a two-run double in the first to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead. Jorge Cantu had an RBI single and Cody Ross added a sacrifice fly in the inning to put Florida ahead, 4-0.

"It was nice to come out and not be flat," said Baker, the Marlins catcher.

"It was really big," Baker said of the fast start. It prevented us from having any kind of a letdown coming off a big sweep of Philadelphia."

In other games:

* At Denver, Troy Tulowitzki hit for the cycle and had a career-high seven RBI to help the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs, 11-5.

Tulowitzki hit his 21st homer in the first, singled in the second and doubled in the fourth in his first three at-bats. He added a two-run single in the eighth to finish with five hits.

* At Phoenix, catcher Miguel Montero, first baseman Chad Tracy and pitcher Doug Davis drove in three runs each as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Mets, 7-4.

Davis (7-10) allowed two runs on four hits for the victory.

* At St. Louis, Kyle Lohse won for the first time since injuring his forearm more than 2 1/2 months ago, working six effective innings in the Cardinals' 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Reds starter Johnny Cueto injured his left hip running out a grounder in the top of the third and was removed from the game.


* Scott Rolen tried to put an end to his feud with Tony La Russa, stopping by the Cardinals manager's office in his first trip back to St. Louis' Busch Stadium since his trade almost two seasons ago.

The Cincinnati Reds' third baseman is out indefinitely with concussion-related symptoms after being beaned by the Rockies' Jason Marquis, and is unlikely to play during a three-game series against the NL Central leaders.

He said he hadn't spoken with La Russa since being sent to the Blue Jays for Troy Glaus in January 2008, a deal made when relations between the two soured after Rolen was benched during the 2006 postseason.

In another Cardinals matter, righthander Todd Wellemeyer complained of a sore elbow following a bullpen session and could be headed to the 15-day disabled list, La Russa said. *