Willis hit two home runs and pitched into the ninth inning to
lead the Marlins over the New York Mets 6-3 Wednesday night.
Willis also pulled a run-scoring single into right field in
Florida's three-run sixth. Matt Treanor's RBI double put the
Marlins in front 2-1 before Willis drove him in with a base hit and
Hanley Ramirez added a run-scoring groundout.
Willis rounded the bases quickly after each of his homers and
said he "just swung," when asked about the two drives in his
first career multihomer game. He was happy to be left in the
on-deck circle in the top of the ninth, saying he might have been
hit by a pitch if he went to the plate.
"It's just a game," he said. "The only thing now is people
are going to be expecting me to hit home runs every time I get up
and it's not my game, it's not my game at all."
Willis' strong effort helped Florida snap a four-game losing
streak and kept alive its dwindling hopes playoff hopes. The
Marlins are four games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers and
Philadelphia, the NL wild-card co-leaders, with 10 games left.
"Obviously, Dontrelle, with his bat and his arm, he did
everything tonight," Florida manager Joe Girardi said.
New York's only concern right now is keeping healthy and getting
some rest ahead of the postseason. The Mets beat Florida 4-0 Monday
night to clinch the NL East title, becoming the first team in the
majors to qualify for the playoffs.
Willis (12-11) has won three straight starts for the first time
this season. He allowed three runs and seven hits to improve to 3-1
against the Mets this season and 11-2 with a 2.02 ERA in his
career. The left-hander is 5-1 with a no-decision in his last seven
"He's a strong kid and for some reason he gets up for us,"
Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "I thought he started out kind
of slow, I thought we were going to jump on him early. Once he gets
into a groove, he's tough."
Willis' three homers this season have all come at Shea Stadium.
He also hit a grand slam in Florida's 7-3 win over New York on July
Borowski joked afterward that he'd been giving Willis hitting
tips, and that was the reason for his big night.
"He was like a regular position player at the bat," Borowski
Paul Lo Duca, who finished with three hits for the Mets, doubled
in a run and scored in the sixth to cut it to 4-3. But Willis hit
his second homer of the game in the eighth and Ramirez scored from
second on Roberto Hernandez's wild pitch to restore Florida's
Randy Wolf was the last major league pitcher to hit two homers
in a game, doing it for Philadelphia against Colorado on Aug. 11,
2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Oliver Perez (3-12) shut out the Marlins over the first four
innings before running into trouble in the fifth and sixth. He was
charged with three runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Perez got Alfredo Amezaga to fly out with runners on second and
third to end the fourth, but Willis hit his first pitch in the
fifth over the wall in right-center to tie it at 1. Willis raised
his right arm in the air as the ball went out and the crowd booed
as he finished rounding the bases.
"When I hit, they always tell me, 'Take the first pitch,"
Perez said. "I was thinking he was going to take the first pitch,
but he hit it."
Outfielders Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd were out of the
starting lineup again for the Mets. Randolph sent out a lineup full
of reserves Tuesday night but put most of his regulars back in for
the third of four straight games against the Marlins.
Florida 3B Miguel Cabrera was scratched from the starting
lineup with a sore left shoulder. Wes Helms moved from 1B to 3B and
Mike Jacobs was inserted to play 1B. Florida also shuffled its
lineup, with three players moving up a spot in the order to make
room for Jacobs, who batted sixth. ... Mets RHP Pedro Martinez is
slated to start Thursday night against Florida in his first outing
since he was nearly in tears following three innings against
Pittsburgh. Martinez faced the Pirates on Friday night in his first
start in more than a month, allowed four runs, and sat in the
dugout afterward with his head in his hands. He had been on the DL
because of a strained right calf since Aug. 14. ... Willis has six
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