Marlins 5, Phillies 2

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MIAMI (AP)—The Philadelphia Phillies are ailing, and the Florida Marlins keep making matters worse.

Mike Lowell hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning Tuesday night and Florida set a franchise record for consecutive home victories against one opponent by beating Philadelphia 5-2.

The Phillies have lost 12 consecutive games in Miami, including five this year.

“I’m embarrassed; they should be embarrassed,” Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa said angrily. “There are no excuses. We’re getting beat.”

The Phillies did have the excuse of being short-handed. Major league home run leader Jim Thome was held out of the starting lineup because he had the flu, and two relievers remained sidelined. Closer Billy Wagner is out with a sore shoulder, and right-hander Ryan Madson went on the disabled list Tuesday with a sprained pinky.

Thome pinch-hit in the seventh inning and walked. Complaining of dizziness, he left the game for a pinch runner and returned to the team hotel.

Carl Pavano (11-4) allowed seven hits and two runs in eight innings to help the Marlins improve to 9-1 against the Phillies this season. Florida has won 21 of the past 24 games in the rivalry dating back to last year.

“Maybe they’re the reading the articles and believing it or trying too hard,” Pavano said.

“It just seems like we click when they come to town,” Lowell said. “I wish I knew what it was—we’d use it against the Expos and Pirates.”

With the score 2-all in the eighth, Lowell hit a 3-2 pitch over the scoreboard off Rheal Cormier (4-4). One batter later, the game was halted because of rain for 58 minutes. When play resumed, Jeff Conine hit an RBI double off Roberto Hernandez, then scored on a single by Alex Gonzalez.

“They’re having our number this year,” Cormier said. “We haven’t played well against them.”

Lowell’s home run was his 22nd this season and the 130th of his career, surpassing Derrek Lee’s franchise record of 129.

Lowell acknowledged that his total was modest by the standards of older franchises.

“Being the leading home run hitter for the Florida Marlins carries a lot of prestige,” he said jokingly. “I hope I never have to pay for another meal in a restaurant in the South Florida area ever again.”

Josias Manzanillo pitched a perfect ninth for his first save since 2001. Armando Benitez, who has 33 saves, was unavailable because of elbow inflammation and is expected to be sidelined at least one more day.

Miguel Cabrera drove in Florida’s first two runs with a double in the third off Randy Wolf. Philadelphia tied the game at 2 with two outs in the seventh on Mike Lieberthal’s RBI single and Jimmy Rollins’ run-scoring double.

The Phillies, who stranded 14 runners Monday in a loss to Florida, squandered early scoring chances against Pavano. They loaded the bases in the third, but Bobby Abreu hit into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. Placido Polanco reached third in the sixth before Pat Burrell flied out to end the inning.

Florida took a 2-0 lead in the third. Juan Pierre doubled and Luis Castillo walked, and both scored on a two-out double by Cabrera.

“When they need a two-out hit, they get it,” Bowa said. “And when they need a two-out pitch, they get it. I’m not telling you anything about us. I’m telling you what the Marlins do to beat us.”

More bad news for Philadelphia: Two games remain in the series.

“Forget about the record,” Polanco said. “We can’t let that get to our heads. If Wednesday we come out thinking about the record, they will already have the advantage.”


Benitez underwent an MRI on his elbow, which was negative. … The Marlins’ old record for consecutive home victories against one opponent was 11 in a row against Houston from 1995 to 1997. … Pavano improved his career record to 50-54, and he improved to 1-5 at home against the Phillies. … Castillo improved his average against Wolf to .421 (16-for-38). … The rain delay was just the second this season in Miami.

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