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Vs. Phillies, D-Train fires another complete-game shutout

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

MIAMI -- When the eighth inning ended, Dontrelle Willis was the first player out of the Florida Marlins' dugout, jogging to the mound eager to finish what he started.

Which he did. Willis completed a three-hitter for his second consecutive shutout, and Florida used another pitching gem to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 Wednesday.

"I was going to leave everything out on the field," the left-hander said. "You want to end the game, but at the same time you want to focus on what you did to get to the ninth inning. You don't want to overdo anything."

Willis (2-0) is becoming familiar with the demands of going the distance -- he beat Washington with a five-hit shutout last Friday.

His latest performance dropped the Marlins' team ERA to 1.36, best in the major leagues. They have four complete games, while the other 29 teams combined for two through Tuesday.

Florida concluded a 5-4 homestand, winning series against Washington and Philadelphia. The Marlins have outscored opponents 38-2 in their victories.

On an 87-degree afternoon, Willis threw 114 pitches, 74 for strikes, and hit 93 mph on the radar gun even in the ninth inning. He struck out seven and walked one for his fourth career shutout.

"He had good stuff right to the end," manager Jack McKeon said. "He was throwing strikes and staying ahead of the hitters, and when he pitches like that, he generally wins."

Willis retired the first nine batters before Jimmy Rollins lined a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single. Rollins advanced to third on a pair of groundouts but was stranded when Pat Burrell was called out on strikes.

That was the only Phillies runner to reach third. Burrell, who leads the major leagues with 17 RBI, singled with two outs in the seventh but also struck out twice. Placido Polanco singled with one out in the ninth for the only other hit off Willis.

"He made it look easy after a while," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. "We knew they had good pitching, but we didn't realize how sharp they are already."

The Phillies, who came into the series leading the majors in runs, were shut out over the final 15 innings by Willis and A.J. Burnett.

"You know the old saying -- good pitchers get good hitters out," McKeon said.

Florida's starters have an ERA of 1.42, the best in baseball, including a combined 33 innings without a run allowed by Willis and Josh Beckett. The rotation has been so good that new closer Guillermo Mota didn't have a save chance during the nine-game homestand.

"We're feeding off each other," Willis said.

Miguel Cabrera hit two sacrifice flies for the Marlins, who handed Cory Lidle his first loss to an NL East team in 13 career decisions. He allowed six hits and three runs, two earned, before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth.

"After the game, for whatever reason it popped into my head that this was my first loss against the NL East," said Lidle (0-1). "But I found myself going against Willis when he was on. He was going to shut out anybody."

Third baseman David Bell's third error of the season helped the Marlins score the only run they needed in the first. Luis Castillo led off with a bunt single -- just his second hit in 23 at-bats -- and continued to third when Bell's throw sailed down the right-field line. Cabrera's fly brought home the unearned run.

Florida made it 2-0 in the second on a two-out double by Damion Easley and an RBI single by Matt Treanor.

Jeff Conine -- who has a career average of .567 against Lidle -- doubled with two out in the fourth and scored on Easley's single.

The strong April pitching by the Marlins is reminiscent of last year, when they had four shutouts in the first nine games. That trend didn't last, and they finished 13 games behind NL East champion Atlanta.

"It's just the second week," Willis said. "We've got a lot of baseball to go."

Notes

  • The Marlins are the first team with four complete games in their first nine games since Boston did it in 1992.
  • Juan Pierre, who led the major leagues with 65 steals in 2003, stole his first base of the year in the fifth.
  • Bell went 0-for-3 and is 1-for-14 against Willis.
  • Burrell went 3-for-12 in the series, dropping his average to .405.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Dontrelle Willis gives the Marlins another in a series of stellar starting performances. (AP)
Dontrelle Willis gives the Marlins another in a series of stellar starting performances. (AP)

Players of the Game
Florida

D. Easley
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Florida

D. Willis
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 7
 

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Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4010000 .250
Placido Polanco, 2B4010000 .227
Bobby Abreu, RF4000001 .300
Pat Burrell, LF4010022 .405
Jim Thome, 1B3000031 .281
Jason Michaels, CF2000100 .400
David Bell, 3B3000011 .194
Mike Lieberthal, C3000001 .286
Cory Lidle, P1000010 .000
   a- Jose Offerman, PH1000000 .000
    Terry Adams, P0000000 .000
   b- Tomas Perez, PH1000001 .333
    Rheal Cormier, P0000000 .000
    Tim Worrell, P0000000 .000
Totals30030177 
a-flied out for Lidle in the 6th
b-grounded out for Adams in the 8th
Fielding
DP - Polanco-Rollins-Thome
E - David Bell (3, wild throw)
Philadelphia Phillies
Cory Lidle (L,0-1) 5632020 2.61
Terry Adams 2000000 5.79
Rheal Cormier 0.2211000 9.00
Tim Worrell 0.1000010 11.25
HBP - Delgado (by Terry Adams)
Pitches-Strikes - Cory Lidle 86-57, Terry Adams 21-14, Rheal Cormier 13-9, Tim Worrell 5-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cory Lidle 5-8, Terry Adams 4-1
Batters Faced - Cory Lidle 21, Terry Adams 6, Rheal Cormier 4, Tim Worrell 1
Florida Marlins
Juan Pierre, CF4120000 .324
Luis Castillo, 2B4120001 .172
Miguel Cabrera, LF2002001 .286
    Chris Aguila, LF0000000 .000
Carlos Delgado, 1B3000001 .333
Mike Lowell, 3B4000012 .200
Jeff Conine, RF3110001 .222
    Juan Encarnacion, RF0000000 .276
Damion Easley, SS3121000 .308
Matt Treanor, C3011001 .400
Dontrelle Willis, P3000021 .286
Totals29484038 
Batting
2B - Jeff Conine (1, Lidle), Damion Easley (2, Lidle)
SF - Miguel Cabrera 2 (2)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera 2 (9), Damion Easley (1), Matt Treanor (1)
2-OUT RBI - Damion Easley (1), Matt Treanor (1)
SB - Juan Pierre (1, 2nd base off Lidle/Lieberthal)
Team LOB - 4
Florida Marlins
Dontrelle Willis (W,2-0) 9300170 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Dontrelle Willis 114-74
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dontrelle Willis 15-5
Batters Faced - Dontrelle Willis 31
Game Information
Attendance - 14427
Game Time - 2:13
Temperature - 87
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Lazaro Diaz, Third Base - Bob Davidson