Marlins 1, Mets 0
Willis (6-1) allowed only a clean line-drive single to left by Ty Wigginton with one out in the fourth to win his fifth straight start.
“He has a funky delivery. His arm angle helps him and his pitch location was very good,” New York outfielder Jeromy Burnitz said of the rookie.
The demonstrative 21-year-old with a high leg kick has allowed four earned runs in his last five starts. He drew a standing ovation as he came out for the ninth inning and was hugged by Rodriguez after the final out.
“I’m definitely going to enjoy this one,” Willis said. “They’re in our division, so whatever win we can get in our division is big.”
Willis outlasted veteran Tom Glavine, who allowed just five hits, including Rodriguez’s homer, in seven innings.
“I was hoping to keep making pitches and hope that his youth and enthusiasm would cause him to make a mistake,” Glavine said.
Marlins manager Jack McKeon said Willis seemed relaxed in the ninth despite the close game.
“In a 1-0 game the pressure can mount on a youngster,” McKeon said. “I was praying in the dugout.”
Willis struck out eight and walked one. Wigginton was the only batter to reach against Willis, also drawing a walk with two outs in the first.
“You get an adrenaline rush, but you don’t want to get too aggressive because then you end up going out of your windup, out of your mechanics and that’s when you make mistakes,” Willis said.
Willis credited Alex Gonzalez with making several good plays at shortstop, including a sliding stab in the second that saved a hit.
“He’s amazing over there. It’s a blessing to have him,” Willis said.
After beating Anaheim behind Steve Trachsel’s one-hitter on Sunday, the Mets flew cross country and were no match for Willis.
Rodriguez’s homer in the fourth inning off Glavine (5-7) gave the Marlins the only run they needed to win for the fifth time in seven games.
Glavine missed his last scheduled start with a sore left elbow. He has lost five of six decisions but said he felt good after Monday’s game.
“So much of what happened tonight was positive, but unfortunately we get judged by one thing, and that was not good,” Glavine said.
“Tommy pitched a great game,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “He just made one mistake. I’m happy with the fact he came back healthy and his ball was fine.”
Burnitz went hitless and is four hits shy of 1,000 of his career. … Glavine is 15-13 in 32 career appearances against the Marlins. … The Marlins are 10-4 when Brian Banks starts in left field. … Lee, a 6-foot-6 first baseman, stole his 14th base of the season. … The Marlins and Mets play sixmore times in the next 10 days. The Mets lead the all-time series 82-61.