Marlins 11, Phillies 5
Instead, they happily walked to a win.
Consecutive bases-loaded walks issued by Philadelphia relievers Mike Williams and Carlos Silva forced home the tying and go-ahead runs for Florida, which scored eight times in the eighth inning to beat the Phillies 11-5 on Friday night.
Florida drew five walks in the inning against Williams and Silva to take the lead, then broke the game open on consecutive run-scoring singles by Miguel Cabrera, Alex Gonzalez, Todd Hollandsworth and Juan Pierre.
“I think you’ve got to give our hitters plenty of credit,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “Our guys were very patient and I think that was the key to this ballgame. They didn’t swing at the bad pitches, they were willing to take a walk and it all paid off.”
Derrek Lee homered, doubled, singled and walked twice for Florida, which beat Philadelphia for the sixth straight time and moved within four games of the Phillies in the NL wild-card race.
Williams (1-4) and Silva were each charged with three earned runs in the eighth. Williams faced four batters, walking three and allowing the other to reach on his throwing error, and all scored.
“Anytime you walk the leadoff hitter in the eighth, you’re asking for trouble,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “You compound it with an error and you’re opening the floodgates.”
The Marlins scored three times in the eighth before a ball left the infield, then four straight singles put the game out of reach.
Williams, an NL All-Star acquired from Pittsburgh to bolster the Phillies’ bullpen down the stretch, took the blame afterward.
“I just walked guys. I didn’t throw enough strikes,” he said. “You just learn from your mistakes and go on. That’s all you can do.”
Willis rebounded from the worst start of his young career, allowing three hits and one run over six innings and leaving with a 3-1 lead. His bullpen quickly gave it away in the seventh, with Polanco’s homer giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead.
Silva then threw three straight balls to Lee, the last of which was a wild pitch that brought home Ivan Rodriguez for a 6-4 lead.
The win was Florida’s 10th in its last 13 home games.
“It was just a matter of time for us to break out,” Willis said. “We had a lot of confidence going into the eighth that we could score. I didn’t know we’d score like that, but I’ll take it.”
Willis, who lasted only two innings Sunday against the Chicago Cubs and saw his streak of eight straight winning decisions end, quickly settled into a groove.
He walked Marlon Byrd, the game’s leadoff batter, on four pitches and allowed three of the first six Phillies to reach base before retiring 12 straight.
When Willis left, however, Philadelphia broke out. Jimmy Rollins led off the seventh with an infield single and went to second when pinch-hitter Nick Punto was walked. Both scored on Polanco’s eighth homer of the year.
Florida scored three times in the second inning against Philadelphia starter Brett Myers, who lasted 3 2-3 innings, his shortest outing this season.
Polanco had four RBIs for Philadelphia, including a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Willis struck out five and walked three.
“There’s still a long ways to go, but these are big victories,” Pierresaid. “And I tell you what, this is a lot of fun.”
Pierre stole two bases, giving him a career-high 48. … Counting his minor league stats, Willis is 36-7 as a professional and 23-2 in home games. … Phillies reliever Turk Wendell struck out to end the fourth inning, his first at-bat since July 2001. … Florida went hitless and scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, but still stranded five runners over that stretch. … Phillies LF Pat Burrell struck out twice, his 33rd multi-strikeout game of the year. … The Marlins are averaging 17,117 fans when Willis starts, 13,343when he doesn’t. Friday’s attendance was 18,106.