After a 7-5 Florida win in the opener of the series on Friday, ace Dontrelle Willis beat Greg Maddux on the mound and at the plate Saturday. With the bases loaded in the fifth inning, Maddux hit Willis on his right hip to drive in the tiebreaking run in the Marlins’ 2-1 win.
The victory was Willis’ 18th on the season, tying him for the major league lead.
“It’s a great feeling,” Willis said. “It’s definitely a team effort. You have to have lot of things go your way. Today I was hit and that ended up being the winning run. I’ve been very fortunate to stay healthy and stay strong. ”
Florida manager Jack McKeon believes there’s more to come from Willis.
“He’s an 18-game winner. He’s going to be a 20-game winner, there’s no doubt in my mind,” he said.
Florida, which has won three straight and eight of its last 11 games, is in the middle of the NL wild-card race and is also within striking distance of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.
Beckett looks to lead the Marlins to their fourth straight win, but the former World Series MVP allowed two homers and four earned runs in a 14-0 loss to the Cubs on June 14. He is 1-2 with a 5.19 ERA in three starts against Chicago.
Chicago, which has lost three straight and six of its last eight games, looks to Carlos Zambrano to help it avoid getting swept.
The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA in his five starts this month, and has 20 strikeouts over his last two outings.
Following this series, Chicago continues its homestand with a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Florida, meanwhile, returns home to begin a six-game homestand with matchups against the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets.