Marlins 11, Expos 4
MONTREAL (AP)—Dontrelle Willis won again, this time without his best stuff.
Home plate umpire Marty Foster sustained a concussion and had to be taken off on a stretcher after he was hit on the mask by a pitch in the fourth.
Willis (9-1), a late addition to the NL All-Star team, remained undefeated in 10 starts since losing on May 20 at Olympic Stadium. He allowed six hits and three runs—two earned—in five innings.
“He just didn’t have his stuff today,” Rodriguez said. “He got the win but I feel like he didn’t have his stuff.”
Rodriguez, who went 4-for-4, hit an RBI double off Claudio Vargas (6-5) in the first and a run-scoring single in the third. He added a two-run double off Britt Reames in the fourth before driving in his fifth run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Juan Pierre had three hits and scored four runs. He stole three bases, increasing his major league-leading total to 44.
“We talked about that this morning,” Rodriguez said. “I said, ‘Get on base, I’m going to bring you in.’ We had the same idea in mind and it worked. We just had a great day.”
Willis had allowed just two runs in his previous five starts, and maintained a 0.85 ERA in his nine previous outings since giving up five runs in three innings in his loss to the Expos.
“His fastball wasn’t located where he wanted it today, but a win is a win,” Rodriguez said. “Every start is not going to be the same. When you don’t feel good and when you struggle pitching, you have to make some adjustments and he did it today.”
The Marlins finished a 6-3 road trip that included a three-game sweep in Philadelphia and a win in three games in Chicago.
“It wasn’t an easy road trip at all,” Pierre said. “Facing teams over .500, we knew it was going to be tough going in but our pitching stepped up for us and we got timely hits, and I think it’s good momentum going into the All-Star break.”
Willis and Lowell learned they would have another teammate accompanying them to Chicago during the game when Luis Castillo was named to the NL All-Star team, replacing injured Atlanta second baseman Marcus Giles.
The three Marlins players and Montreal second baseman Jose Vidro—the Expos’ lone All-Star—had all dressed and left to catch a flight to Chicago when reporters entered the two clubhouses following the game.
After Lowell’s homer made it 5-0 in the third, Florida ended Vargas’ day later in the inning on Miguel Cabrera’s two-out RBI single.
Vargas allowed seven hits and five runs in 2 2-3 innings, his shortest outing in 15 starts this season.
“He just didn’t seem like himself,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said.
Willis and Pierre walked to lead off the fourth. Reames’ 1-1 pitch to Castillo sailed over catcher Michael Barrett’s glove and struck Foster on the mask near his forehead.
“I called for a changeup and Reames thought it was a fastball,” Barrett said.
While the runners advanced on the passed ball, Foster collapsed to the ground. Montreal trainer John Adam attended to Foster, who was able to rest on one knee before being taken off the field.
Expos team physician Dr. Michael Thomas determined the umpire had a Grade 1 concussion, the least severe on the scale, and light whiplash. Foster was examined at an area hospital before being cleared to fly.
The game resumed after a nine-minute delay with Fieldin Culbreth moving from first base to behind the plate.
Castillo grounded to second before Rodriguez’s two-run double and Juan Encarnacion’s two-out, run-scoring single made it 8-0.
Joe Vitiello and Barrett hit RBI singles in the fourth and Edwards Guzmanadded Montreal’s third run on an RBI grounder in the fifth.
Marlins shortstop Alex Gonzalez returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game because of a strained left hamstring. Gonzalez had to leave Friday’s 7-1 win after he injured himself while running the bases. … Vargas had pitched at least five innings in 13 of his 14 previous starts. … A crowd of 16,084 was on hand for a Tim Wallach bobblehead promotion. Wallach, the Expos’ all-time hits leader, was given a warm ovation when he threw out thefirst pitch prior to the game.