Willis gets no-decision despite eight solid innings

MIAMI (AP) -- Rafael Furcal's leadoff homer in the 13th inning

helped the Atlanta Braves avoid a three-game sweep with a 2-1 win

over the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night.

Marlins rookie left-hander Dontrelle Willis allowed only one run

in eight innings, but failed to match a club record by winning his

eighth straight start, leaving with the score tied 1-1.

Gary Sheffield had three hits for the Braves, who managed just

three runs in 30 innings in this series against Florida before

Furcal connected off Armando Almanza (4-5) for his 11th homer of

the season.

Kevin Gryboski (5-3) earned the win in relief. John Smoltz, the

sixth Atlanta pitcher, allowed a leadoff single in the 13th but got

the final three outs for his 30th save.

Mike Lowell hit his 26th home run of the season in the fourth

inning for Florida, which was trying to sweep a three-game series

from Atlanta for the first time since September 1996.

Atlanta tied it in the sixth -- ending Willis' streak of 31 1-3

consecutive scoreless home innings. Furcal drew a leadoff walk,

advanced to second on a ground ball, took third on a wild pitch and

scored on Sheffield's bloop single to center.

Willis yielded six hits and one run while striking out six. He

lowered his ERA to 2.13 for the season; in his last eight starts,

it's 0.94.

Atlanta starter Horatio Ramirez, another rookie left-hander,

matched a season-high with seven innings. He allowed six hits and

one run. Ramirez has won six straight decisions since the Marlins

beat him 7-4 on April 11.

The Braves, who entered the game with baseball's best record

against left-handed starters (14-4), failed to take advantage of

two other decent scoring opportunities against Willis, who faced

Atlanta for the first time.

Willis gave up a leadoff double in the third to Vinny Castilla,

who was sacrificed to third. But Castilla was stranded after Willis

struck out the next two batters, Furcal and Marcus Giles.

Consecutive singles by Javy Lopez and Julio Franco to open the

fifth didn't bother Willis, either. He got Castilla to hit into a

double play, then induced an inning-ending groundout from Ramirez.

Earlier Wednesday, Willis was named both the National League's

pitcher and rookie of the month for June -- the first player to

sweep both awards since baseball instituted the monthly rookie

honor in 2001.Game notes
Willis' winning percentage entering the game (8-1, .889)

was the best in the National League; Ramirez (7-2, .778) was tied

for second. ... The Marlins, who allowed 45 runs in three games in

Boston last weekend, gave up four in the three games with the

Braves. ... Two milestones were recorded in the game: Atlanta LF

Chipper Jones went 1-for-5, giving him 1,500 career hits. Florida C

Ivan Rodriguez's first-inning single was his 1,800th career hit.

... Before Willis, the last rookie to win the NL's pitcher of the

month award was Hideo Nomo (June 1995). ... Florida sold 9,023

tickets for the game on Wednesday, the second-highest walkup crowd

in team history. The announced attendance was 30,634, the Marlins'

largest since Opening Day and nearly 18,000 fans higher than

Florida's average home crowd this season.