Marlins 2, Phillies 1
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Florida made three hits work.
Florida, which has won three of its last four games, was held to one hit—a Juan Pierre single leading off the game—over the first eight innings and finished with just three singles in all. The Marlins scored a run in the fourth off Kevin Millwood on a walk, a steal and a groundout.
“We made the most of our runs and hits, just like we always seem to do,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “It was the same thing in our last game (a 2-1 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday). This time we got enough key hits to win.”
Mesa (3-5) walked Mike Lowell with two outs in the ninth, and Juan Encarnacion singled Lowell to third. Before Lowell’s walk, Phillies third baseman David Bell turned a potential extra-base hit by Ivan Rodriguez into a spectacular 5-4-3 double play, erasing Luis Castillo, who had walked leading off.
“Bell’s play could have been a rally-killer for us, but we just got another rally started,” Lee said.
And Lee finished it.
Lee, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts going into the ninth, followed with a single up the middle on a 3-2 fastball.
“That was a tremendous at-bat for Lee after a couple tough ones,” McKeon said.
Florida is 25-14 since May 23, the best record in the NL East.
“This was a big win for us,” Lee said. “We’re playing the kind of baseball we thought we could when we were in spring training. It just took us a while to get going.”
Braden Looper (4-2) pitched 1 2-3 innings and won despite allowing the tying run in the eighth.
Looper walked two batters in the ninth, then retired Pat Burrell on a game-ending grounder.
“It was a battle to throw strikes,” Looper said. “It was a very small strike zone for both sides, and it made it way too exciting.”
“Jimmy bunted on his own,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “We had taken the sign off.”
Looper then went 3-0 on Jim Thome before getting him to fly out to center.
“That was the high point of the game for me,” Looper said.
Not much went right for Philadelphia at the plate. The Phillies left 13 runners on base, including 12 in the final six innings.
“We had a lot of opportunities to win the game,” Bowa said.
Millwood struck out seven and walked two in seven innings. The one hit off him was his low since pitching a no-hitter against San Francisco on April 27.
“I feel like I’m getting out of the funk I was in,” said Millwood, 2-5 in his previous seven starts. “I felt I located the ball much better.”
Florida went ahead when Pierre walked, took second on Castillo’s sacrifice, stole third with a huge jump and scored when Rodriguez hit a one-out RBI grounder to Polanco at second, who threw wildly to first for an error.
Philadelphia tied it in the eighth. Burrell pinch hit and drew a one-out walk from Tommy Phelps, and Looper came in and walked Bell.
Pinch-hitter Mike Lieberthal singled to load the bases, and Marlon Byrd followed with a soft grounder to Lee at first. He threw to second for an out, but Florida couldn’t turn the double play as Burrell scored.
Florida starter Carl Pavano struck out a season-high seven and allowed five hits and four walks in 6 2-3 innings. In his previous start, he allowed six consecutive hits and didn’t get an out in a 25-8 loss to Boston, the worst outing of his professional career.
Pierre helped him with a sensational catch in the sixth inning.
With runners on first and second and one out, Ricky Ledee drove a pitch deep to center. Pierre raced back and made a leaping grab at the top of the fence for the second out. After a walk to David Bell, Pavano struck out Todd Pratt.
Pavano, who retired his first nine batters, left in the seventh with runners on first and second, and Jim Thome at the plate. Reliever Tommy Phelps threw awild pitch, then struck out Thome with a nasty slider.
Bobby Abreu’s single in the sixth was his 1,000th career hit. … Bowa was ejected in the eighth by plate umpire Tim Tschida for arguing balls and strikes. It was Bowa’s fourth ejection (one automatic) this season. … Florida SS Alex Gonzalez made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch in short center to prevent a pair of runs from scoring in the fourth. … Looper has blown threesave chances. … The temperature for the 6:05 p.m. start was 93 degrees.