“Whenever you see that kind of happen your heart kind of drops because he leads for everyone of us and we do the same for him,” Uggla said of Florida’s ace. “I can’t tell you how many times he’s picked us up. It’s nice to come back and win this thing.”
Uggla’s 13th homer broke a tie and the Marlins defeated the slumping Chicago White 7-5 on Tuesday night.
Uggla led off the ninth with a high drive to left off Matt Thornton (2-3) to make it 6-5 and bring out a chorus of boos at U.S. Cellular Field. Thornton gave up two more singles before leaving and Aaron Boone added a sacrifice fly off Nick Masset.
Willis said he was OK and wanted to stay in the game, despite the stiffness in his forearm.
“This is pretty much what happens when you throw a lot of innings,” said Willis, who hopes to make his next start. “I didn’t feel good, the tightness, but I felt I could get guys out. As far as that, my mental aspect was good. …They made the decision and you have to look at it in the long run. Obviously I wasn’t happy, but they’re looking out for me.”
Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Rick Kranitz had to convince Willis that he should leave and not risk further injury. He’ll be re-evaluted Wednesday.
“He wanted to pitch, but he’s the type of guy who will pitch with a broken arm,” Gonzalez said.
The White Sox have lost 18 of 23 and manager Ozzie Guillen was highly agitated by his team’s latest performance, questioning whether his players still believe in themselves.
“It’s a joke,” he said. “Every day we see the same stuff, every day we see the same team. We have a couple of hopes here and there and get a little excited and the next day we go backward.
“We have to apologize to the fans watching this thing because I’m tired of watching this day in and day out. …Wow. You thought I was a good manager. Well, look at me now. I’m not that good. You’re as good as your players are.”
Uggla struck out twice, once with runners at second and third and a second time with the bases loaded before delivering off Thornton, who’s struggled despite a fastball in the high 90s.
“He even broke my bat on it. That’s how hard he throws. That tells you what kind of stuff the guy has,” Uggla said.
Willis’ outing matched the shortest of his career and it was a shaky one. He gave up three hits, four runs and walked three.
He walked leadoff hitter Andy Gonzalez and after a fielder’s choice, Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye singled for Chicago’s first run. Josh Fields then lifted a high fly to center field and it kept carrying with a 13 mph blowing out until it landed in the seats for a three-run homer and a 4-3 lead.
Willis’ left arm had tightened up during his last start Thursday against Cleveland, after he was inadvertently kicked by the Indians’ Grady Sizemore.
Willis was briefly shaken up after that collision, which came while he was trying to cover first base. He remained in that game, but acknowledged earlier this week that he had some soreness.
Florida tied it at 5-5 in the seventh on Josh Willingham’s solo homer off Ryan Bukvich. A.J. Pierzynski and Andy Gonzalez singled to open the bottom of the seventh before Marlins’ reliever Matt Lindstrom struck out Tadahito Iguchi, got Konerko to fly out to the wall in center and Dye on a pop.
Wes Obermueller relieved Willis at the start of the second, and third baseman Miguel Carbera’s 13th error, this one on a bad throw, allowed Gonzalez to reach second. He moved up on a grounder and scored on Konerko’s sacrifice fly for a 5-3 lead.
Chicago starter John Danks also started poorly, giving up back-to-back doubles to the Marlins’ 1-2 hitters, Alfredo Amezaga and Uggla, before Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer to left, giving Florida a 3-0 cushion Willis quickly let get away.
Danks went four innings plus, allowing eight hits and four runs.
Willis also lasted one inning on April 30, 2004 at San Francisco. … Cabrera’s error was Florida’s major-league worst 65th of the season. … Chicago DH Jim Thome sat out with a stiff back. Dye played after leaving Monday night’s game with a sore quadriceps muscle. … Chicago C Toby Hall left after four innings with flu-like symptoms. He was also hit in the head by the backswing of Uggla’s bat in the first inning.