Marlins 9, Giants 1

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MIAMI (AP)—Back home to begin their biggest series so far this season, the Florida Marlins wanted a good start. Seven runs in the first inning did the job.

Alex Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the first, and Mike Lowell drove in five runs Tuesday to help Florida beat the San Francisco Giants 9-1.

The defending World Series champions won for the eighth time in 11 games and pulled within four games of the Giants, who fell one game behind NL wild-card leader Chicago. Florida remained five behind the Cubs.

“We did everything we needed to do,” Lowell said. “It’s big to set the tone for the series. Every game is big from here on out.”

A.J. Burnett (4-6) allowed just two hits—both singles by Edgardo Alfonzo— and one run in seven innings. Throwing at up to 100 mph, he walked four and hit a batter, and the Giants’ only run scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch.

“When you’re down 7-0 in the first inning, the game is pretty much over with Burnett pitching,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said.

Matt Perisho and Armando Benitez completed the three-hitter, which matched a season low for the Giants. Lowell doubled home three runs in the first and hit a two-run homer, his 23rd, in the fourth.

Returning to Miami after a 7-3 trip, the Marlins climbed three games above .500 for the first time since July 1. They’re chasing San Diego, as well as Chicago and San Francisco, in the wild-card race.

“We’ve got to do our own work,” manager Jack McKeon said. “We can’t worry about anyone else.”

Florida tied a franchise record with their seven-run first against left-hander Wayne Franklin (2-1), making just his second start this season to fill in for injured ace Jason Schmidt.

“We just worked a lot of pitches,” Lowell said. “Guys fouled off a lot of tough pitches, and when we got our pitch we put it in play hard. I don’t think he really was terrible.”

Franklin threw 50 pitches and retired only two batters—a pace that would’ve required 675 pitches for a complete game. Instead, he departed after facing 10 batters, trailing 7-0.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been knocked out of the first inning, and hopefully it will be the last,” Franklin said. “It will humble you real quick. You have to tell yourself that you’re not that bad.”

Florida’s first four batters scored. Franklin hit Juan Pierre, Paul Lo Duca singled, Miguel Cabrera walked and Lowell sent them all home.

With one out, Juan Encarnacion singled and Luis Castillo walked before Gonzalez hit a three-run homer, his 18th.

“You wish the inning will hurry up and get over with,” Alfonzo said.

Burnett walked Barry Bonds twice, including with a 7-0 lead in the third. Bonds has walked 12 times in five games against Florida.

The Giants scored in the third on two walks, a single and a wild pitch.

Lowell’s home run made it 9-1.

“That’s the way we played last year—we got the lead early and played add-on,” McKeon said.


The game was delayed at the start for 51 minutes because of rain. … Alfonzo improved his average against Burnett to .533 (8-for-15). … Throwing out the first pitch was Florida Atlantic football coach Howard Schnellenberger, who led the Miami Hurricanes to the national championship in 1983. … The game was the 100th between the teams. San Francisco leads the series 63-37.

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