Marlins 10, Phillies 5

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MIAMI (AP)—The Florida Marlins say they’re good enough to make the playoffs, and the Philadelphia Phillies don’t deny it. They can’t—not after seven consecutive losses to the Marlins.

Two errors by center fielder Marlon Byrd led to a pair of unearned runs, and Josh Beckett allowed one run in six innings to help Marlins beat the Phillies again Saturday night, 10-5.

Ivan Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera each drove in three runs for the Marlins, who climbed six games above .500 for the first time since they finished the 1997 season 92-70. That club went on to win the World Series.

“This team has the ability to be in the playoffs,” Rodriguez said. “We have a little bit of everything. It’s going to be fun.”

Florida is three games behind Philadelphia, the leader in the NL wild-card race.

“We’ve still got more in us,” Beckett said. “We’re in this thing for the long haul.”

Beckett (5-4) allowed seven hits but struck out nine and stranded six runners in scoring position. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA in five games since returning July 1 from an elbow sprain that sent him to the disabled list for nearly two months.

The Phillies stranded 10 runners, struck out 14 times and committed three errors, giving them 10 in the past four games. They’ve been outscored 21-10 in two losses this weekend at Miami.

“We played two bad games the past two nights,” manager Larry Bowa said. “We hadn’t done that all season.”

Bowa held a team meeting after the game, with even front-office personnel excluded.

Rodriguez scored three times, and he and Derrek Lee each had three of Florida’s 15 hits. The Marlins have outscored Philadelphia 44-22 in their past seven meetings and lead this year’s series 8-4 with seven games remaining.

“They’re a good team,” said Brandon Duckworth, who took the latest loss. “It’s going to be a dogfight down to the end.”

Duckworth (3-5) remained winless in 10 starts since May 17. He allowed four runs, two earned, in five innings.

Braden Looper, who entered in the eighth with the score 5-1 and the bases loaded, got five outs for his 18th save in 22 chances. He also singled in Florida’s five-run eighth for his first major league hit in six career at-bats, then scored on a wild pitch.

“I found a pinch-runner,” manager Jack McKeon joked. “He can run.”

Looper gave up a three-run homer in the ninth to Jim Thome, his 27th.

The Marlins took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the second. Juan Encarnacion singled, stole second, went to third on a single by Lee and continued home when Byrd bobbled the hit for an error.

That was only Byrd’s second error this season, and he committed another in Florida’s two-run fifth. After Juan Pierre reached on a bunt single and stole second, Byrd dropped Luis Castillo’s routine fly, leaving runners at first and third. Rodriguez doubled them both home for a 4-1 lead.

“It stinks,” Byrd said. “It was just bad defense on my part. Routine plays, and I botched them. I was trying to hurry. They’re things that shouldn’t happen in the big leagues.”

Beckett needed 35 pitches to get through the second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. He gave up a single and a pair of two-out walks to load the bases before Duckworth hit a liner off Beckett’s glove. Beckett retreated to retrieve the ball, wheeled and threw an underhanded one-hopper to first to retire the side.

Byrd hit his first major league triple to start the fifth, but again Beckett escaped. He struck out Placido Polanco and Thome, and when Bobby Abreu flied out, Beckett punched the air in triumph.

“That was pretty big,” Beckett said. “We had the momentum then.”

Philadelphia scored in the fourth on a two-out RBI double by Jimmy Rollins, batting eighth for the first time this year. Rollins hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Cabrera’s two-out RBI single in the fourth put the Marlins ahead to stay, 2-1. Rodriguez and Mike Lowell singled home runs in the eighth, and Cabreraadded a two-run single.

Notes

Beckett is 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA in seven games at home, compared with 1-2 and a 4.50 ERA in six games on the road. … Abreu went 0-for-5, ending a nine-game hitting streak. He is 2-for-15 (.133) lifetime against Beckett. … Shortstop Rollins dropped a popup trying to make a basket catch behind second base. … Thome flied out to Pierre at the 434-foot sign in left-center in the seventh. … Pierre had two hits and is batting .378 (17-for-45) against thePhillies this season.

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