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  Saturday, Apr. 22 7:05pm ET
Marlins' Sanchez kills Phils on hill, at plate

MIAMI (AP) -- Jesus Sanchez almost beat the Philadelphia Phillies by himself.

"I did everything today, got a couple of base hits, scored and helped out myself," Sanchez said Saturday night after leading the Florida Marlins over the Phillies 4-2. "If I keep going like that, we'll be winners."

Sanchez was 2-for-2 with an RBI as Florida ended its six-game losing streak against Philadelphia. At 11-8, the Marlins are off to their best start ever -- even topping 1997, when they won the World Series.

"They're a young, improving team," Phillies manager Terry Francona said. "They've got a good bullpen and they've done some great things down here."

Sanchez (3-0) allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, struck out four, walked two and hit two batters.

"This year I'm throwing the ball over the plate and let them hit it," said Sanchez, 5-7 with a 6.01 ERA last year. "They've been missing it or hitting a ground ball."

He also picked off Brian Hunter in the fifth inning and started a tough double play on a Kevin Jordan comebacker in the fourth.

"He never adapted to the bullpen last year," Marlins manager John Boles said. "He's a starter and he's fulfilled every expectation."

Sanchez had a 4-0 lead but left after Doug Glanville's two-run single in the seventh. Braden Looper got Ron Gant to hit into an inning-ending double play, and Antonio Alfonseca pitched a hitless ninth for his sixth save in seven chances.

Paul Byrd (0-2), making his first start in 12 days, gave up four runs in six innings and struck out seven. His overall ERA dropped from 23.40 to 13.91, but his ERA at Miami rose from 1.01 to 1.93 in eight appearances.

Mark Kotsay was 2-for-4 with a leadoff homer and an RBI double.

"After that Kotsay homer I was thinking, 'Here we go again.' But after that inning I was feeling really good," said Byrd, who has endured back problems. "When a pitcher gets two hits, that can't happen. Give him credit, he's a good athlete."

Florida, which was outhit 8-6, made it 3-0 in the second on Paul Bako's RBI groundout and Sanchez's run-scoring infield hit, which caromed off Byrd toward shortstop. Kotsay's double came in the fifth.

Game notes
Kotsay's leadoff homer was the first of his career, the 10th in Marlins' history. ... Dolphins quarterback Damon Huard threw out the ceremonial first pitch _ high and wide left. ... A half-inning after Sanchez's bouncer caromed off Byrd, Byrd hit a grounder off Sanchez for an infield hit. He was doubled up when Glanville lined to second. ... Glanville climbed the fence in left-center to rob Chris Clapinski of a potential double with a backhand catch in the fourth inning. ... Rico Brogna, who was hit in the knee by a pitch Friday, grounded out in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and remained in the game. ... The crowd of 22,787 was the highest since 35,101 on Opening Day.


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