Phillies 8, Marlins 5

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MIAMI (AP)—The Florida Marlins played in front of their smallest crowd since 2002 on Monday night, and for that they can be thankful.

With the home team blowing a late four-run lead for Dontrelle Willis against Philadelphia, it was better to keep witnesses to a minimum.

Pat Burrell homered for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to cap the comeback against Willis, and the Phillies won 8-5 before 6,017 fans.

“We seem to have done anything and everything to let a team back in the game, including myself,” Willis said.

The left-hander took a one-hitter and a 5-1 lead into the seventh, but the Phillies tied the game with a three-run infield hit thanks to a mental gaffe by rookie second baseman Dan Uggla. It was a hero-to-goat transition for Uggla, who hit a two-run homer and scored from second base on a groundout.

“That was huge to come back,” Burrell said. “Against one of the better pitchers in the game, they have a 5-1 lead going into the seventh inning. You’re not going to win that game many times.”

Willis (1-2) gave up eight earned runs, matching his career high, in 7 1-3 innings. He hit three batters and threw two wild pitches.

Last-place Florida has lost a season-high four straight games and seven of eight. But even in that context, the ugliness of the latest loss stood out.

“This isn’t supposed to happen,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You’re up 5-1 and we’re rolling along. It’s frustrating. It seems like any mistake we make costs us.”

Florida left the bases loaded twice, including in the eighth against Arthur Rhodes. Tom Gordon pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in as many chances, and Rheal Cormier (1-0) earned the win by getting the only batter he faced to hit into a double play.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel missed the comeback; he was ejected in the fourth inning by second base umpire Angel Hernandez for disputing a forceout call. Manuel was also thrown out of a victory over Florida in Philadelphia last month.

The Marlins began to unravel when Willis hit the leadoff batter with a changeup in the seventh, then gave up a single to David Bell. A groundout advanced the runners, Mike Lieberthal singled home a run and pinch-hitter Abraham Nunez reached when third baseman Miguel Cabrera failed to make a clean play on his infield single, loading the bases.

Jimmy Rollins hit into a forceout at home, leaving Willis on the verge of escaping with a 5-2 lead.

But when Uggla tried to make a leaping catch of Shane Victorino’s looping liner in short right field, the ball deflected off the heel of his glove for a single. Two runs scored, and Rollins stopped at third.

Then Uggla retrieved the ball, casually walked it back toward the infield and tossed it to Willis.

“Uggla wasn’t looking to third,” Rollins said. “I was creeping, and as soon as I saw the ball come forward, I just took off.”

“Instead of calling time out, I toss the ball and next thing I know, Jimmy takes off,” Uggla said. “Lesson learned.”

Rollins easily crossed the plate to make it 5-all.

“We fall asleep, and the guy scores,” Girardi said. “It can’t happen.”

Burrell jumped on a sinker down the middle leading off the eighth for his eighth homer. Alex Gonzalez singled home a run to end Willis’ night, and Rollins added a two-out RBI single.

“It definitely hurts, because I felt like I let my team down,” Willis said. “I have to find a way to get outs late in the game, especially when they’re making a charge.”


The crowd was the Marlins’ smallest since April 19, 2002, when they drew 5,148 against Montreal. … Marlins RF Jeremy Hermida (hip flexor) complained of stiffness after playing three innings in a rehabilitation assignment Monday for Single-A Jupiter, delaying his scheduled return Wednesday from the disabled list. He’ll be re-evaluated Tuesday. … Willis said he’ll donate $100 for each of his strikeouts to the “Strikeouts for Troops” campaign, with proceeds benefiting injured soldiers. … Cabrera walked twice against Phils starter Ryan Madson but went 0-for-1, dropping his average against the right-hander to .143 (2-for-14). … The ERA for Phillies starters rose to 5.81. … Philadelphia RF Bobby Abreu, held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season, pinch hit in the eighth and was intentionally walked.

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