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Cantu, Paulino homer as Marlins top Astros 9-2

Florida Marlins' Jorge Cantu (3) is congratulated by teammate Hanley Ramirez (2) after hitting a two-run home run.
Florida Marlins' Jorge Cantu (3) is congratulated by teammate Hanley Ramirez (2) after hitting a two-run home run.
Alan Diaz, Associated Press

MIAMI — Jorge Cantu and Ronny Paulino homered, and the Florida Marlins continued their potent pace at the plate, beating the Houston Astros 9-2 on Thursday night.

Sean West (4-4) struck out three in six innings, and relievers Brian Sanches and Chris Leroux combined to give the Marlins their sixth win in the last seven games. The Marlins remained 4 games behind first-place Philadelphia in the NL East.

Hanley Ramirez, the NL batting leader, had two singles and two RBIs for Florida, which has at least 10 hits in a club-record 10 straight games.

Mike Hampton (7-10) gave up three runs and six hits. He left after five innings with a left shoulder strain.

After Ramirez reached on a fielder's choice in the first, Cantu worked the count full and hit the 11th pitch of the at-bat for a home run to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead. Cantu's ball was hit so hard, that left fielder Carlos Lee didn't even turn around to watch it sail over the scoreboard.

The same was true in the fifth, when Paulino hit his sixth homer of the season to deep left-center to put Florida ahead 3-1.

Hampton had an RBI single in the fifth and he appeared to get hurt running the bases. He was replaced by Chris Sampson in the sixth inning, and the team said Hampton is day-to-day. Hampton left his last start after only two innings with a sprained meniscus in his right knee.

Ramirez hit a two-run single for his second hit of the game, and Wes Helms had an RBI double to highlight a six-run sixth that gave the Marlins a 9-1 lead. Six Florida hitters had an RBI in the inning, with all the runs charged to Sampson.

NOTES: Marlins OF Cody Ross left the game after six innings with a stiff lower back. He was replaced by Jeremy Hermida. The team said Ross is day-to-day. ... Astros C Humberto Quintero came up holding his left ankle after sliding into home in the fifth but stayed in the game. ... Marlins LF Chris Coghlan extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the sixth.