Marlins 7, Phillies 6

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Florida Marlins relied on four rookie pitchers and an injured catcher to get an important win.

Pinch-hitter Paul Lo Duca’s two-run single in the seventh inning helped the Marlins beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-6 Saturday night.

Carlos Delgado, Jeff Conine and Damion Easley each had three hits for Florida, which remained a half-game behind Houston in the NL wild-card race. The Phillies fell 2 1/2 games behind the Astros.

“It showed what our club is made of,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “We could’ve been buried after falling behind their best pitcher, but we kept coming back with clutch hitting.”

For the second time in three games, Philadelphia’s bullpen failed to hold a lead. On Wednesday, Billy Wagner allowed a three-run homer to Craig Biggio with two outs in the ninth inning in an 8-6 loss to Houston.

The Marlins rallied against Ryan Madson (6-5) in the seventh. Delgado was hit by a pitch with one out and Conine singled. Easley’s RBI single to center cut it to 6-5. After Juan Pierre was intentionally walked to load the bases, pinch-hitter Juan Encarnacion struck out.

But Lo Duca, who wasn’t in the starting lineup for the second straight game because of a hamstring injury, drove in Conine and Easley with a single to left.

“He’s playing hurt, but he’s a gamer and a clutch player,” McKeon said of Lo Duca. “That’s why you like to have him out there, even if he can’t run.”

The Marlins are used to seeing Lo Duca deliver in clutch situations. The three-time All-Star is hitting .295 with 52 RBIs, and has six RBIs in 11 at-bats as a pinch-hitter.

“He’s done that all year for us, coming through with big hits,” Pierre said.

Chris Resop (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for his first win in the majors. He was recalled from Double-A Carolina earlier in the day.

Todd Jones got the final four outs for his 36th save in 38 chances, and 26th in a row. He retired Pat Burrell on a grounder to third with two runners on to end the eighth.

Resop was the fourth rookie used by McKeon. Jason Vargas started, lasting just two innings and giving up three runs and five hits. Josh Johnson pitched two scoreless innings in his major league debut and Randy Messenger gave up three runs in the fifth.

“If they can’t pitch, they shouldn’t be here,” McKeon said.

After Florida scored twice to take a 4-3 lead in the fifth against Brett Myers, the Phillies came back with three runs in their half of the inning.

Chase Utley led off with a homer deep into the right-center field seats off Randy Messenger. After Ryan Howard walked, Mike Lieberthal lined a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field wall to give the Phillies a 6-4 lead.

“We left a lot of guys on base,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We played a little sloppy.”

Bobby Abreu’s RBI single in the first gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Myers helped himself with a bloop single in the second that made it 2-0, and Jimmy Rollins followed with an RBI double, giving Philadelphia a 3-0 lead.

Myers allowed four runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings, his second-shortest outing this season. The right-hander, who was outstanding early in the season, has struggled lately. He’s 3-2 with a 4.80 ERA in his last eight starts.

Notes

Rollins had two doubles and a triple, extending his career-best hitting streak to 16 games. He was picked off first base in the eighth. … Marlins rookie RF Jeremy Hermida struck out four times. … Utley has 22 homers and 84 RBIs, despite being platooned in the first two months. … Conine is hitting .522 (12-for-23) against the Phillies this season. … Burrell went 0-for-4 and stranded eight runners.

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