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HOU@MIA: Astros turn a double play in the sixth

MIAMI -- Astros manager Brad Mills went to the end of the first-base dugout, and one by one patted his players on the backs as they came off the field Sunday afternoon.

He understands the depths at which a gut-wrenching loss like the Astros suffered can eat at a player's soul and damage his psyche. As far as Mills was concerned, the Astros had battled too hard for 11 innings to do anything but hold their heads up at the end of the day.

Hanley Ramirez, who tied the game in the eighth inning with a two-run, tape-measure home run to straightaway center field, won it in the 11th with a fly ball with the bases loaded that fell in right field for an RBI single that gave the Marlins their second 5-4 walk-off win over the Astros in three days.

"These guys kept battling and doing a lot of things right, and I want to make sure they're looking at the things they're doing right," Mills said. "It's too easy to get down after a couple of games like this, and I don't want that to happen. It's too good of a ballclub and they're too good of guys."

All three games in the Astros' final series at Marlins Park as a member of the National League were tied at 4 at some point in the ninth inning, and finished with identical 5-4 scores. The Astros rallied for four runs in the ninth to win Saturday.

"Even the games that we've lost, we've been in and been maybe one or two at-bats away from pulling ahead or busting it open," Astros outfielder Brian Bogusevic said. "Once those hits start coming, we'll be a lot better off then."

Bogusevic, J.D. Martinez, Chris Johnson and Jose Altuve each had two hits for Houston, with Martinez having hit safely in all nine games this year.

The Astros were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 runners on base. They left the bases loaded in the sixth, eighth and again in the 11th when Bogusevic grounded out. Houston is 0-for-11 this year with the bases loaded.

"You don't want to try to do too much, but at the same time, you can kind of feel the situation," Bogusevic said. "We struggled -- I don't know what the numbers are -- but those are the kinds of hits we need to get to break games open and put teams away when we're ahead."

Ramirez went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs and found himself at the plate in the 11th inning after the Astros intentionally walked two batters. They walked Jose Reyes with a runner at second base to set up a forceout, and then walked Emilio Bonifacio after a wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position.

Astros reliever David Carpenter got ahead of Ramirez, 1-2, before the slugger hit a long fly ball to right that landed on the grass behind the drawn-in outfield.

"The guys battled and hung in there and I let us down today," Carpenter said. "It was definitely disappointing to come out there and do that. I was really upset about the Ramirez situation, where I get him 1-2 and had him set up for a pitch and I went with the wrong pitch. He did his job. He hit it."

Marlins reliever Chad Gaudin (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings in relief to get the win.

"There is no room for error," Gaudin said. "Every pitch is a battle. Every out is a battle. You can't give up a run. That's very important. You take every pitch with that much concentration, that much focus and that much effort."

Houston led, 4-2, when reliever Wesley Wright began the eighth by walking Bonifacio ahead of Ramirez, who proved you can hit a ball out of the deepest part of spacious Marlins Park with a mighty swing. The two-run homer off Wilton Lopez tied the game.

"We can't walk Bonifacio to lead off that eighth," Mills said. "I know Wesley hasn't pitched in the last couple of days, but at the same time, he's done such a good job for us and we're trying to save as many pitchers as we could. We wanted Lopez to face the right-handers coming up after Bonifacio, but we would rather have [Bonifacio] have to swing the bat to get on."

Astros starter J.A. Happ delivered his second consecutive quality start by allowing five hits, two walks and two runs while striking out eight batters in six innings. He was in line to get his second win before the Marlins tied the game in the eighth.

"I felt pretty good for the most part," Happ said. "There were a few times I struggled to get the ball down, and then I was able to make adjustments and hit the spot, especially in a few key situations. That was good, definitely." Comments