Phillies 6, Marlins 2

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Cory Lidle kept the ball on the ground, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco got it in the air and Philadelphia salvaged something from an underachieving season.

Rollins and Polanco homered, Lidle pitched six solid innings and the Phillies secured second place in the NL East with a 6-2 win over the Florida Marlins on Friday night.

“We didn’t reach the expectations we were supposed to,” Lidle said.

It didn’t help it took the Phillies so long to figure out how to beat the Marlins. After losing 14 of 15 to Florida the last two seasons, the Phillies have five straight wins over them.

Philadelphia won the first two games of the four-game series, and is three games ahead of the defending World Series champions in the standings.

With another win, the Phillies would match last season’s total (86). The record would be the same, but not the feelings about it. Last year, the Phillies considered themselves a team on the rise; this year, they fell short of their “Now is the Time” slogan.

Larry Bowa, clinging to his job after winning years in three of his four seasons as manager, said the results would’ve been different if three-fifths of the starting rotation and key relievers hadn’t missed parts of the season with injuries.

“I didn’t have my team,” Bowa said. “It was a tougher haul.”

One made a little easier once Lidle got on track.

Lidle (12-12) was quick and efficient—as he’s been in most of his wins since he was acquired from Cincinnati on Aug. 9. He struck out only one and scattered nine hits, but got plenty of groundball outs while winning his fifth straight decision.

He threw only 41 pitches in the first five innings, didn’t throw more than seven pitches to any hitter and retired eight batters on one pitch while recording 11 groundball outs.

With a 3-2 lead in the sixth, Lidle loaded the bases with two outs before getting pinch-hitter Lenny Harris to ground out to end the inning.

Ryan Madson and Billy Wagner—who also missed large chunks of the season with injuries—finished with three innings of scoreless relief.

“With a healthy bullpen, even with our starting pitching so-so, we’d have had a chance,” Bowa said.

Lidle, a free agent who has said he wants to return to Philadelphia, has relied on the grounders to successfully tame the Phillies’ homer-friendly new park. He’s 3-1 with two shutouts and a no-decision in Philly and finished 5-2 overall.

Lidle has a 1.18 ERA in his five wins, but an 0-2 record with an 8.14 ERA in his other five starts with the Phillies.

“The goal should be to keep the team pretty close to the way it is now,” Lidle said.

Rollins went 3-for-5, adding two doubles, and Polanco also scored twice for Philadelphia.

Polanco put them ahead 3-2 in the fifth when he hit his 17th homer, a two-run shot off Matt Perisho (5-3) that bounced off the front row of seats in left field.

Perisho pitched one inning of relief after spot starter David Weathers lasted four innings. Josh Beckett’s start was pushed back a day because he attended his grandmother’s funeral.

“We had their number for a while, now they have ours,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “The writers picked us for third last year. They were a year early.”

Rollins added his 13th homer, a solo shot in the seventh.

Rollins led off the first with a double off Weathers and scored on Bobby Abreu’s RBI single.

Damion Easley tied it with a sacrifice fly in the second, and Luis Castillo gave Florida a 2-1 lead with an RBI single in the fourth.

Mike Lieberthal added a two-run single in the eighth to make it 6-2.

Philadelphia’s Jim Thome was back in the cleanup spot after missing the last five games from discomfort in his chest resulting from a collision on Sept. 15.


The Philadelphia chapter of the BBWAA handed out its inaugural awards, naming Abreu the Mike Schmidt MVP, reliever Ryan Madson the Steve Carlton most valuable pitcher, third-base coach John Vukovich the Dallas Green Special Achievement winner for setting a Phillies record in 2004 by coaching in his 17th season, and reliever Amaury Telemaco won the Tug McGraw Good Guy Award. … The Phillies turned a season high four double plays. … The Phillies set a single-season attendance record with 3,170,253 fans. The previous record of 3,137,674 was set during the 1993 NL championship season at Veterans Stadium.

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