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Dodgers deny Willis eighth victory behind four-run first inning

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- The D-Train was derailed before darkness set in Tuesday night.

COMMENTARY
It'll take more than one loss to derail Dontrelle-mania
by Scott Miller
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Jeff Kent and Olmedo Saenz each drove in two runs in a four-run first inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat previously unbeaten Dontrelle Willis and the Florida Marlins 14-5 for just their second win in seven games.

Willis had won his first seven starts of the season, allowing just six earned runs in 50 innings for a 1.08 ERA. But the Dodgers scored four runs before the 23-year-old left-hander recorded his second out.

"We got to Dontrelle early -- that's all we got off him," Kent said. "We were able to keep them down. That's going to be the key for us all year long, how well we pitch."

Willis, who worked five shutout innings after the first, was trying to join Jon Garland of the Chicago White Sox as the first pitchers to win their first eight starts in a season since Pedro Martinez did so for Montreal in 1997. Garland accomplished the feat earlier Tuesday night with a 5-2 victory over Texas.

"There's no excuses to explain the first inning. I don't play that," Willis said. "They came out and hit the ball well. That's the bottom line. They hit good pitches and they hit bad pitches. And with a lineup like that, you have to be on top of your game. I just wasn't early, but I was determined to keep us in that ballgame.

"I told the team, 'I'm not giving up anything else.' That's not a knock on anybody on their team, but I just believe in myself and I had confidence that we were going to stay in the game."

Willis was true to his word, and the Marlins did stay in the game until the Dodgers blew it open with a four-run seventh off Nate Bump and Travis Smith and a six-run eighth against Jim Crowell, who was designated for assignment after the game.

Saenz also hit a three-run homer in the eighth to give him a career-high five RBI, and Kent drove in four runs. Cesar Izturis tied a career high with five of the Dodgers' 19 hits.

"We did a lot of hitting tonight with men on base," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "Once we got them out there, we got them in."

The Dodgers went 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position in their previous two games -- both losses.

Willis (7-1) entered with an 0-2 career record and a 15.43 ERA against the Dodgers, and was true to that form at the outset. Izturis greeted Willis with a single and Jason Repko followed with a ground-rule double. After J.D. Drew took a called third strike, Kent snapped out of a 1-for-16 slide by lining a single to right.

Milton Bradley tried to bunt for a hit, and reached base when first baseman Carlos Delgado dropped Willis' throw. Saenz then doubled to drive in Bradley and Kent, making it 4-0.

"It's a good feeling to bust out," Bradley said. "Guys start getting hits, it's a contagious thing."

Willis allowed a season-high seven hits and the four runs, three earned, in six innings. He walked two, struck out six and threw 102 pitches.

"Now you guys can let the guy be himself and not worry about whether he's 15-0," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said, referring to Willis. "He would have liked to stay in there, and I would have liked to see him stay in there, too. But he would have had 190 pitches if he did.

"It just wasn't his night. You could tell when he started off, although you've got to give him credit. He battled like hell to keep the score 4-3."

Derek Lowe (3-4) allowed four hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings to earn the win. Lowe, who walked two and struck out five, was relieved by Kelly Wunsch with two outs and the tying run at second in the seventh. Wunsch struck out Juan Pierre to end the inning.

The Marlins, who lost for the fourth time in five games, didn't have a hit until Delgado followed Paul Lo Duca's leadoff walk in the fourth with his fifth homer to cut the Dodgers' lead to 4-2. Florida moved within one run in the fifth on Pierre's RBI grounder.

The Marlins cut the Dodgers' lead to 8-5 off Yhency Brazoban in the eighth on RBI doubles by Miguel Cabrera and Mike Lowell before Los Angeles scores six in its half to make it a rout.

Pitching in a non-save situation, Eric Gagne worked the ninth in just his second appearance of the season. Gagne, who had 152 saves from 2002-04, was sidelined until last Saturday with a sprained ligament in his pitching elbow.

Notes

  • Izturis has 57 hits in 39 games and a major league-leading 20 multihit games this season.
  • The slumping Lowell was back in the lineup after sitting out two games. He went 1-for-4, leaving him with two hits in his last 27 at-bats.
  • The Dodgers will activate 3B Antonio Perez before Wednesday's game against the Marlins, a team spokesman said. Perez, who completed a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas, has been sidelined since April 9 because of a strained left hamstring.
  • Florida SS Alex Gonzalez, playing in his 800th major-league game, had two hits.
  • Plate umpire Sam Holbrook called 10 batters out on third strikes, including Drew three times. Drew struck out a fourth time swinging.
 
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 serves up a season-high seven hits to the Dodgers in his first loss of the year.  (Getty Images)
Dontrelle Willis serves up a season-high seven hits to the Dodgers in his first loss of the year. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

C. Izturis
AB 6
R 2
H 5
HR 0
RBI 2
Los Angeles

O. Saenz
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 5
 

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Florida Marlins
Juan Pierre, CF4001021 .264
   a- Chris Aguila, PH1000010 .273
Paul Lo Duca, C2210201 .333
Carlos Delgado, 1B4112012 .311
Miguel Cabrera, LF4111001 .373
Juan Encarnacion, RF4000022 .256
Mike Lowell, 3B4011001 .182
Damion Easley, 2B4110011 .235
Alex Gonzalez, SS3020000 .252
   b- Lenny Harris, PH1000010 .375
Dontrelle Willis, P1000010 .130
    Nate Bump, P0000000 .000
    Travis Smith, P0000000 .000
    Jim Crowell, P0000000 .000
   c- Jeff Conine, PH1000000 .289
Totals33575299 
a-struck out for Pierre in the 9th
b-struck out for A. Gonzalez in the 9th
c-popped out for Crowell in the 9th
Batting
2B - Paul Lo Duca (5, Brazoban), Miguel Cabrera (10, Brazoban), Mike Lowell (9, Brazoban)
HR - Carlos Delgado (5, Lowe)
SH - Dontrelle Willis 2 (4)
RBI - Juan Pierre (9), Carlos Delgado 2 (21), Miguel Cabrera (29), Mike Lowell (13)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Lowell (6)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Miguel Cabrera 1
E - Carlos Delgado (6, Missed catch)
Florida Marlins
Dontrelle Willis (L,7-1) 6743160 1.45
Nate Bump 0.1433010 3.63
Travis Smith 0.1211100 8.10
Jim Crowell 1.1666011 21.60
IBB - Saenz by Travis Smith
HBP - Drew (by Dontrelle Willis), Choi (by Jim Crowell), Bradley (by Jim Crowell)
Pitches-Strikes - Dontrelle Willis 102-64, Nate Bump 21-13, Travis Smith 8-3, Jim Crowell 42-30
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dontrelle Willis 7-5, Jim Crowell 1-2
Batters Faced - Dontrelle Willis 27, Nate Bump 5, Travis Smith 3, Jim Crowell 12
Los Angeles Dodgers
Cesar Izturis, SS6252003 .339
    Oscar Robles, SS0000000 .111
Jason Repko, LF6330012 .233
J.D. Drew, RF4000045 .246
Jeff Kent, 2B5334001 .298
Milton Bradley, CF3211001 .325
Olmedo Saenz, 1B4235100 .355
Jason Phillips, C5021013 .295
Mike Edwards, 3B4111102 .333
Derek Lowe, P3000021 .143
    Kelly Wunsch, P0000000 .000
   a- Hee Seop Choi, PH0000000 .313
    Yhency Brazoban, P0000000 .000
   b- Jason Grabowski, PH1110000 .152
    Eric Gagne, P0000000 .000
Totals411419142818 
a-hit by pitch for Wunsch in the 7th
b-singled for Brazoban in the 8th
Batting
2B - Cesar Izturis 2 (9, Willis, Crowell), Jason Repko 2 (4, Willis, Crowell), Milton Bradley (5, Bump), Olmedo Saenz (6, Willis)
HR - Olmedo Saenz (3, Crowell)
SH - Milton Bradley (2)
RBI - Cesar Izturis 2 (17), Jeff Kent 4 (32), Milton Bradley (25), Olmedo Saenz 5 (18), Jason Phillips (22), Mike Edwards (2)
2-OUT RBI - Cesar Izturis 2 (12), Mike Edwards (1)
CS - Cesar Izturis (3, 2nd base by Willis/Lo Duca)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Mike Edwards (3, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Derek Lowe (W,3-4) 6.2433251 3.07
Kelly Wunsch (H,9) 0.1000010 1.32
Yhency Brazoban 1322010 3.86
Eric Gagne 1000020 9.00
WP - Kelly Wunsch (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 84-58, Kelly Wunsch 4-3, Yhency Brazoban 26-18, Eric Gagne 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 13-3, Yhency Brazoban 1-1
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 27, Kelly Wunsch 1, Yhency Brazoban 6, Eric Gagne 3
Game Information
Attendance - 37481
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Larry Vanover