PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Dontrelle Willis stayed perfect on the mound. He finally had trouble at the plate, though.
Willis (3-0) struck out in his first at-bat, snapping his streak of 10 consecutive hits, dating to last season and including the playoffs.
But Florida’s hitters gave him all the runs he’d need to stop the Phillies’ four-game winning streak.
“It wasn’t my day at the plate, but my job is to pitch,” Willis said. “I love to hit. I try to handle the bat well. I feel it’ll keep me in the game longer.”
The NL Rookie of the Year gave up four hits, struck out three and walked none. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his three starts, spanning 19 1-3 innings.
Willis finished 0-for-3 at the plate after going 3-for-3 in each of his first two starts, including a home run last week.
“You guys wanted me to hit him fifth or sixth. I don’t hear you saying that now,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon joked. “Even the best hitters take a collar once in a while.”
Benitez had three saves in Florida’s three-game sweep over the Phillies on the first weekend of the season.
The World Series champion Marlins have won 16 of their last 18 games against the Phillies, who blew a half-game lead over Florida in the NL wild-card race with eight games remaining last season.
“We just haven’t hit against their pitching,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said.
Vicente Padilla (0-2) gave up three runs—two earned—and five hits in 6 1-3 innings for the Phillies.
Willis came up with one out and a runner on third in the second inning, but struck out swinging.
Jim Thome and Pat Burrell hit consecutive singles in the fourth. After Jason Michaels flied out, Bell hit a sinking liner to right field that Miguel Cabrera couldn’t handle, letting the ball bounce off his knee for an error as Thome scored to cut it to 2-1.
Willis worked out of a jam in the fifth inning, getting Mike Lieberthal to pop out and retiring Thome on a fly ball with runners on first and third.
“He was very effective,” McKeon said. “When he stays ahead of hitters, he has a lot of success. He’s done a remarkable job.”
The teams came in ranked first and second in the majors in fielding, but each committed three errors. The Phillies had just one in 11 previous games, and the Marlins had two in 12 games.
“I don’t know what it is,” Lieberthal said. “They play well and wedon’t.”
Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball team was honored before the game. Coach Phil Martelli, the AP’s coach of the year, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Hawks almost had a perfect season, going 27-0 before losing. … Willis’ streak of seven straight hits in the regular season was one shy of the club record held by Gary Sheffield and Preston Wilson. Livan Hernandez was the last pitcher to get hits in eight consecutive at-bats, doing it for San Francisco in 2001. … Burrell made a running catch on a foul ball hit down the left-field line by Pierre and threw out Redmond at the plate with a one-hopstrike to end the seventh inning.