One day after watching Guerrero hit late-inning solo home runs against relievers Jim Mecir and Todd Jones, McKeon had Guillermo Mota intentionally walk the reigning AL MVP in the eighth inning with two men in scoring position and first base open -- putting the potential go-ahead run on base.
The unorthodox move worked, and the Marlins held on for a 7-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
"It's certainly something you're going to consider when there's somebody of Vlad's stature up there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's definitely breaking the old baseball adage, but sometimes there's circumstances that would make you do that. There's been probably a handful of times when you just know it's not a matchup you feel good with, and Vlad's one of those guys."
Trailing 7-0 after three innings, the Angels narrowed the gap to 7-5 with three runs in the eighth. Juan Rivera had an RBI single, Chone Figgins' hit a sacrifice fly and Darin Erstad added an RBI single that extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games.
Erstad stole second on his own with Guerrero up, giving McKeon the option of facing the five-time All-Star or cleanup hitter Garret Anderson, who has more RBI than anyone in Angels history. Mota escaped the bases-loaded jam by retiring Anderson on a flyout.
"The other guy's a pretty good hitter, too, but I've seen what Guerrero can do to us," McKeon said. "You've got to do what you think is right. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. But I wasn't going to let Guerrero beat me -- not today. He took care of that yesterday."
Jeff Conine homered and drove in four runs, helping the Marlins bounce back from consecutive extra-inning losses to the AL West leaders and avoid a three-game sweep in their interleague series.
Jones, who gave up Guerrero's walkoff homer on Saturday, preserved the win for Al Leiter (3-6) with a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in 14 attempts.
Leiter allowed two runs, five hits and five walks over six innings and struck out four in his first start against the Angels since July 6, 1995, with Toronto. He was shifted to the bullpen Monday after allowing nine earned runs over 9 1/3 innings in his previous two starts, but got a reprieve when Josh Beckett went on the disabled list with blister problems.
Angels rookie Ervin Santana, promoted from the minors after Kelvim Escobar went on the DL with a bone spur in his right elbow, was moved up a day because Paul Byrd had tightness in his triceps. Santana (1-2) lasted just 2 2-3 innings, surrendering seven runs and eight hits.
"His fastball was up, and he wasn't able to get his offspeed pitches into the zone early to make a difference and create some margin of error for himself," Scioscia said. "They got on his fastball pretty good."
Five of Florida's first six batters reached against Santana. Juan Pierre opened the game with a triple and scored on a wild pitch. Paul Lo Duca drove in two more with a bases-loaded single and Conine followed with a sacrifice fly, giving Leiter a 4-0 lead before he threw a pitch.
"It was nice to get the win. That's what it's all about," Leiter said. "As long as you win the game, everybody's happy. I felt fine. I was trying to do my thing, be aggressive and do the stuff a pitcher has to do to get people out."
The left-hander stranded two baserunners in each of the first two innings before his teammates padded his lead to 7-0 in the third. Conine drove a first-pitch fastball into the left-field bullpen for his first homer of the season after a walk and a double by Mike Lowell.
Conine, who turns 39 on June 27, is 16-for-54 with eight RBI in the 15 games he has started this season. His father, who has prostate cancer, made the 20-mile drive from his home in Riverside to attend the game to share Father's Day with his son.
"It was a great day," Conine said. "There aren't a whole lot of Father's Days where you get to play in front of your dad. Today was a little more special than most, and having a good game made it even better."
- Erstad needs a hit in his next game to become the eighth different player in Angels history with a hitting streak of 20 or more games.
- Delgado extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the first.
- RHP Jered Weaver, the Angels' No.1 draft pick last year who didn't sign until May 31, is slated to make his professional debut Monday night for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga against Lake Elsinore.