Marlins pick Ricky Nolasco as Opening Day starter

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Last year, when the Marlins were all hopped up on offseason spending and expectations, Ricky Nolasco started the third game of the season behind Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle.

This year he’ll draw the Opening Day assignment, manager Mike Redmond announced this afternoon.

Nolasco also started Opening Day for the Marlins in 2009, but back then he was coming off a season in which he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 212 innings. Now he’s coming off a four-season stretch with ERAs of 4.48, 4.67, 4.51, and 5.08.

Of course, it’s not like the Marlins have anyone better.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.