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Rodriguez wins Puerto Rico debut as Nolasco pitches Marlins past Mets

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Cody Ross, Ricky Nolasco and the Florida Marlins gave interim manager Edwin Rodriguez a sweet homecoming.

Ross homered and had three hits, Nolasco pitched seven solid innings and Florida beat the New York Mets 10-3 Monday night at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico.

"This return has been a very emotional thing for me and many of the people of Puerto Rico. So I am very proud, and proud of the players for their strong game," Rodriguez said after the opener of a three-game series in the baseball-crazy U.S. territory.

Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton also homered for the Marlins, who handed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey his first loss in eight major league starts this season.

Back in March, Major League Baseball moved this series from Miami, where the Marlins draw sparse crowds, to Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan.

Rodriguez, who was managing Florida's top farm team a week ago, took over the big club when Fredi Gonzalez was fired Wednesday, becoming the first major league manager born in Puerto Rico. Days later, he got a chance to come home with his new squad -- and what a night it was.

Out in the parking lot, fans who didn't have tickets to the game gathered around car radios. A few showed up just to soak up the atmosphere, playing the heavy BOOM-da-BOOM-BOOM bass rhythm of the popular hybrid Latin rap music of reggaeton.

Meanwhile, in the street-level corridors of the stadium, a dozen musicians with trumpets, drums, and maracas played for fans who lined up at food stands that sold tropical fruit drinks alongside hot dogs and burgers.

There were pockets of empty seats, however, in the announced crowd of 18,073.

"There were a lot of Latins out there tonight, so that was fun. A lot of people from the Dominican, too," said Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who is from the nearby Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic.

Rodriguez, who lives about five minutes from the ballpark, has been told he'll be with the Marlins for the entire series in San Juan -- though not necessarily as their manager.

What happens next is anyone's guess, and Rodriguez said he's not thinking too far ahead.

"I'm taking it one game at a time. My priority is winning games, and we got the W tonight," Rodriguez said.

If Florida continues to play the way it did Monday night, he might be around for a while.

Hanley Ramirez, Gaby Sanchez and Ross each drove in two runs. Coghlan scored three times from the leadoff spot and Stanton, a prized prospect, hit his second major league homer -- a three-run shot off Ryota Igarashi in the eighth.

Nolasco (7-6) struck out nine and walked none, improving to 2-0 in four starts against the Mets this season. He allowed four hits, including two homers by Jason Bay.

"I just tried to throw good pitches, to throw a little bit of everything in there, and tried to pitch ahead," Nolasco said.

Florida took control with a four-run rally in the third, started by Nolasco's leadoff double.

Dickey (6-1) had won six consecutive starts before getting tagged for five runs and five hits over five innings in this one.

Game notes
The Marlins are 2-4 under Rodriguez. They were swept last weekend at home by San Diego. ... Mets CF Angel Pagan (right side) missed his fifth straight game.