ATLANTA (AP)—Josias Manzanillo sprinted off the mound and easily beat his teammates to the dugout. Even in the middle innings, it was too difficult to contain his excitement.
“When you win, you’re always happy,” Manzanillo said. “Every time the manager calls for me, I’m ready.”
Manzanillo (1-1) pitched a season-high 2 2-3 innings and lowered his ERA to 0.87. He took over for struggling starter Dontrelle Willis with two on and one out in the fifth, and got out of the jam by retiring Julio Franco and Andruw Jones.
When the inning was over, Manzanillo raced as fast as he could off the field, a ritual he follows after each inning. It’s one that clearly irked the Braves.
“I’ve got no comment about him,” Atlanta left fielder Chipper Jones said.
Manzanillo insisted he meant no disrespect, and he has no plans to stop— even if Florida manager Jack McKeon asked him.
“That’s going to be a tough thing to do,” he said. “I have to run when I get excited.”
Lowell also doubled and scored a run during a three-run first inning for the Marlins, who won for only the second time in six games. They stayed in a first-place tie in the NL East with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Armando Benitez got five outs for his 26th save in 28 chances, his first outing in six days.
“We don’t make things easy,” McKeon said. “We go right down to the wire.”
Eli Marrero homered and finished 3-for-4 for the Braves, who had won a season-high three straight.
“As long as we don’t back up a loss by losing two of three or three of four, we’re going to be all right,” Jones said. “If we play like we did tonight, we’re going to be OK.”
Willis hasn’t made it out of the fifth in his past three starts, all after he beat Detroit about two weeks ago with a seven-hitter. He went 4 1-3 innings in this one and allowed four runs on nine hits.
“I think I can still get the job done, regardless of what I’ve been doing lately,” Willis said.
The Marlins took a 3-0 lead in the first against Mike Hampton (2-8), who has given up 18 runs in that inning during his 15 starts.
With one out in the first, Juan Pierre singled and moved to third on a double by Lowell. Cabrera was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Hampton then walked Jeff Conine to force in Pierre. A single by Alex Gonzalez— only his second hit in the past five games—brought home Lowell, and Cabrera scored on a forceout by Chris Aguila.
“Just poor pitching is what it was,” Hampton said. “It seems like it takes me getting kicked in the face before I start pitching. I’ve been in this game a while, you’d think I’d be able to make an adjustment.”
Atlanta tied it on Marrero’s three-run homer in the fourth, a towering drive to the seats in left. But the Marlins got the lead right back on the solo shotsin the fifth—both off Hampton—and the bullpen made it stand.
Aguila made the first start of his major league career and got his first RBI. He’s still looking for his first hit. … Franco singled in the fourth for the 2,400th hit of his career. … Atlanta C Johnny Estrada, who left Monday night’s game after he was hit in the leg by a pitch, is day-to-day. He grounded out to first as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. … Manzanillo’s last win came Aug. 12, 2001, against the San Diego Padres. …Florida last had back-to-back homers April 21, at Philadelphia.