Marlins 6, Brewers 5

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MILWAUKEE (AP)—Rookie Dontrelle Willis wants to avoid getting caught up in a numbers game.

Willis won his fourth straight start and Luis Castillo and Derrek Lee each homered as the Florida Marlins defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 Wednesday night.

“How many times we win when I’m out on that mound is all that matters,” Willis said. “Not the ERA, not how many runs I give up. How many times the ballclub has won when I’m out on the mound. That’s the biggest thing for me.”

The 6-4, 21-year-old left-hander lowered his ERA to 1.26 in his last four starts.

“The team is starting to have confidence in me,” he said. “When I go out there I want to win.”

Willis (5-1) allowed one run on eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.

“Once again, he did a good job for seven innings,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “He was getting the ball up a little in the seventh, but overall he did another fine job.”

He was coming off a seven-inning shutout effort against Oakland at home on June 5.

“He was firing it,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “There’s a lot of promise in that young man.”

Eric Young ended Willis’ streak of 17 scoreless innings with a solo home run leading off the sixth.

Pinch-hitter Eddie Perez chased Willis with a two-out double in the seventh that scored Wes Helms and Keith Osik who were on base with singles. Tim Spooneybarger came on, but Perez was caught trying to steal third on the reliever’s first pitch.

Willis left with a 6-3 lead, but almost ended up with his second no-decision in seven career starts as the bullpen let the Brewers back in the game.

In the eighth, Spooneybarger gave up a single to Young who advanced on a ground out and went to third on a wild pitch. Brady Clark’s sacrifice fly made it 6-4. Spooneybarger struck out Richie Sexson to end the inning.

The Marlins’ brought in Braden Looper to pitch the ninth.

The Brewers loaded the bases with one out before Looper struck out pinch-hitter Brooks Kieschnick. Young then hit an infield single with two outs that scored Wes Helms to bring the Brewers within one. Looper regrouped and got Scott Podsednik to ground out to end the game.

“I put myself in a bad situation to allow that to happen,” Looper said after earning his 12th save in 14 chances. “I wasn’t locating the ball real well today, and they were putting the bat on the ball.”

The Marlins have won five straight road games, a season-high. The last time they won five consecutive games away from home was in May 1997.

Florida beat the Brewers for the seventh straight time. The Marlins have outscored them 38-20 in those games. Milwaukee’s home record fell to 11-23 with its fourth loss in a row.

Florida’s Juan Pierre walked to start the game and Castillo connected on a 3-2 pitch from Wayne Franklin (3-5) for his fourth home run.

It was the second straight game that the Marlins took the lead in the first inning. They scored four runs against Milwaukee in the first Tuesday night.

Lee, who hit a first-inning two-run homer in the Marlins’ win Tuesday night, walked to lead off the second. He scored on a triple by Alex Gonzalez. Pierre made it 4-0 with a bunt single that scored Gonzalez.

Ivan Rodriguez doubled in the seventh, stole third and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Jayson Durocher. One out later, Lee connected for a solo shot that gave the Marlins a 6-1 lead.

Pierre was 3-for-4 with two bunt singles, a double, a walk and a run scored.

Franklin struggled with his control as he allowed eight of the first 15 batters to reach base. He gave up four runs on six hits in 4 2-3 innings.

His last victory was May 21 when he pitched a two-hitter against San Diegofor his first career complete-game shutout.

Notes

Marlins bench coach Doug Davis was ejected by plate umpire Jerry Crawford in the top of the first. Rodriguez took a called third strike just before Davis was tossed. … The Marlins have won 12 of their last 18 games. … The Brewers former star OF Gorman Thomas will be inducted into the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night. … Florida won eight straightroad games in 1995.

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