Marlins 6, Mets 1

Preview | Box Score | Recap

NEW YORK (AP)—This time, Florida Marlins rookie Dontrelle Willis had some trouble in shutting down the New York Mets for the second time in 10 days.

Willis gave up nine hits in seven innings as the Marlins beat New York 6-1 Thursday night.

“I didn’t think he had his best stuff and he didn’t (think so) either,” said Marlines manager Jack McKeon whose club has now won six of its last seven and returned to .500 (40-40) for the second time in three days.

Willis (8-1) won his seventh straight start to become only the fourth pitcher since 1920 to win eight times in his first 10 major league starts before his 22nd birthday as the Marlins took advantage of four Mets errors and three wild pitches. He’ll be 22 in January.

Willis defeated the Mets for the second time in 10 days. On June 16, he pitched a one-hitter against them to win 1-0 at Miami.

“Our approach was better this time around,” said Mets manager Art Howe of his team’s effort against Willis.

“We got some hits but we couldn’t put anything together.”

The hard-throwing lefty with the high leg kick struck out seven and walked two.

Highly regarded Aaron Heilman (0-1) lost in his big league debut. Called up from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, he allowed five runs—just one earned— and six hits in six innings. He struck out two and walked two.

“It was just great,” Heilman said. “I was just pleased to be here.”

A pair of other top rookies played key roles.

Jose Reyes, the Mets’ new shortstop, made a fielding error on Juan Encarnacion’s sharp grounder to prolong the fourth inning of a scoreless game.

After Heilman walked Alex Gonzalez to load the bases, rookie Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run double down the third-base line with two outs.

Florida made it 4-0 in the fifth when Heilman’s throwing error helped set up Ivan Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly.

Willis hit an RBI single in the sixth for a 5-0 lead, and the Marlins added a run in the ninth on a wild pitch by Graeme Lloyd.

The Mets had gone 15 innings without a run off Willis until they broke through in the sixth. Ty Wigginton tripled and scored on a single by Jason Phillips.

Other pitchers who have won eight times in their first 10 big league starts since 1920 are Paul Dean of the St. Louis Cardinals, Mark Fidrych of theDetroit Tigers and Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Notes

The nine hits off Willis marked the most he’s allowed in his 10 starts this season. … Wigginton leads NL rookies with six triples. … Willis’ only loss came on May 20 at Montreal in his third start. … Willis drove in his second run of the season. … John Franco pitched the seventh inning for the Mets, appearing in his 1,006th game. He is 16 behind Lee Smith for sixth all-time in pitching appearances. … Miguel Cabrera’s three-run double gavehim a career-best three RBI game.

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