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New York at Florida

N.Y. Mets
W: D. Willis (19-8) L: V. Zambrano (7-11)
S: T. Jones (33)
HR: NYM - None   FLA - None

Marlins lefty sets franchise record with win No. 19

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

MIAMI -- Leading with his valuable left arm, Dontrelle Willis dived for the plate and slid across safely. That's why he was covered with infield dirt when he set a Florida Marlins record for wins in a season.

Helping himself with his baserunning and his bat, Willis earned his 19th victory Friday night, pitching into the ninth inning of a 4-2 win over the New York Mets.

He went 2-for-4, including a double in the Marlins' two-run sixth. He scored their final run, racing home from third on a grounder and beating the throw with a headfirst slide.

"He's the complete package," manager Jack McKeon said. "He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. There's a lot of kid in him."

Willis (19-8), who should make at least five more starts, broke the franchise mark for victories that he shared with Carl Pavano, who went 18-8 last year. Willis won his fourth consecutive start and tied St. Louis' Chris Carpenter for the major-league lead in victories.

"I never thought I'd be in a situation like this -- to get that many wins in a single season," Willis said. "I'm definitely rolling with it."

David Wright's RBI single chased Willis with one out in the ninth, but Todd Jones finished for his 33rd save in 35 tries. Willis allowed seven hits and two runs, one earned.

His gem came at the start of a key series between NL wild-card contenders. Florida remained 1½ games behind wild-card leader Philadelphia, while New York fell 3½ games back.

The Mets have lost five of six.

"I still think we have a pretty good chance to do what we want to do," said Victor Zambrano, who allowed 12 hits and four runs in five-plus innings.

The game drew 25,916 fans, many of them transplanted New Yorkers.

"There were a lot of people out there rooting for the Mets," McKeon said. "We showed them."

With the victory, McKeon improved his career record to 999-924. He can become the seventh active manager to reach the 1,000-win milestone Saturday.

Willis outpitched Zambrano (7-11) and gave the Marlins' sputtering offense a lift, too.

After Alex Gonzalez led off the sixth with a single, Willis tried to bunt twice and failed, then doubled to put runners at second and third. Juan Pierre's RBI single past a drawn-in infield made the score 3-1 and sent Zambrano to the showers.

Luis Castillo then hit a grounder with the infield still drawn in, and Willis bolted for the plate and scored when second baseman Miguel Cairo threw wide.

"That was the first instinct I had -- to slide," Willis said. "I figured the quickest way I could get to the plate was to reach out as far as I can. I just said, 'I'm going to give up my body.' It's all about putting pressure on the other guys."

Florida slugger Carlos Delgado said the reaction in the dugout to Willis' slide was "sweet and sour."

"We get pumped up, but we also get a little panicked because we don't want him to hurt a finger or a shoulder," Delgado said. "He's our bread and butter."

The Marlins needed Willis' offensive help. They totaled 12 hits but stranded 12 runners and had another thrown out at the plate.

Willis gave up a run in the third when Ramon Castro led off with a double and came home on a single by Jose Reyes. Cliff Floyd, who last homered on Aug. 16, sent right fielder Juan Encarnacion to the wall to make a catch in the sixth.

Willis improved to 7-1 against the Mets in 10 starts with an ERA of 1.90. He pitched a three-hit shutout against them July 3.

"He wasn't as sharp as before," Floyd said. "But so what? He ended up getting a 'W.' He'll sleep well tonight."

Zambrano needed 32 pitches to get through the first inning, when Florida took a 1-0 lead. Castillo singled, Delgado walked and Encarnacion blooped a two-out RBI single.

The Marlins left the bases loaded in the third but took a 2-1 lead on three singles and Mike Lowell's sacrifice fly.


  • The Marlins play all but four of their final 29 games against division rivals.
  • Zambrano came into the game 2-0 with an ERA of 0.82 in Miami.
  • Willis has 18 hits, a Marlins record for a pitcher. He's batting .243.
Copyright 2017 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 breaks the Marlins record for wins in a season, picking up No. 19 against the Mets. (AP)
Dontrelle Willis breaks the Marlins record for wins in a season, picking up No. 19 against the Mets. (AP)

Players of the Game

D. Willis
IP 8.1
H 7
ER 1
BB 1
K 4

L. Castillo
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4011002 .277
Miguel Cairo, 2B4010002 .246
Carlos Beltran, CF3110101 .265
Cliff Floyd, LF4000013 .278
David Wright, 3B4011011 .312
Chris Woodward, 1B3000001 .288
   a- Doug Mientkiewicz, PH1000001 .246
Victor Diaz, RF4020000 .265
Ramon Castro, C4110013 .263
Victor Zambrano, P2000022 .143
    Aaron Heilman, P0000000 .000
   b- Kaz Matsui, PH1010000 .232
    Juan Padilla, P0000000 .000
    Tim Hamulack, P0000000 .000
a-popped out for Woodward in the 9th
b-singled for Heilman in the 8th
2B - Ramon Castro (14, Willis)
RBI - Jose Reyes (55), David Wright (84)
Team LOB - 6
Outfield Assists - Cliff Floyd 1
New York Mets
Victor Zambrano (L,7-11) 51244130 4.17
Aaron Heilman 2000140 3.63
Juan Padilla 0.2000100 1.90
Tim Hamulack 0.1000000 0.00
IBB - Delgado by Aaron Heilman
HBP - A. Gonzalez (by Victor Zambrano)
Pitches-Strikes - Victor Zambrano 110-74, Aaron Heilman 37-20, Juan Padilla 7-3, Tim Hamulack 3-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Victor Zambrano 6-5, Aaron Heilman 2-1, Juan Padilla 1-1
Batters Faced - Victor Zambrano 28, Aaron Heilman 8, Juan Padilla 3, Tim Hamulack 1
Florida Marlins
Juan Pierre, CF5021012 .268
Luis Castillo, 2B4121102 .299
Miguel Cabrera, LF5000013 .328
Carlos Delgado, 1B3110202 .290
    Jeff Conine, 1B0000000 .307
Juan Encarnacion, RF4021013 .299
Paul Lo Duca, C4010015 .300
Mike Lowell, 3B3001020 .235
Alex Gonzalez, SS3120000 .266
Dontrelle Willis, P4120013 .243
    Todd Jones, P0000000 .500
2B - Dontrelle Willis (3, Zambrano)
3B - Luis Castillo (3, Zambrano)
SF - Mike Lowell (8)
RBI - Juan Pierre (37), Luis Castillo (28), Juan Encarnacion (71), Mike Lowell (53)
2-OUT RBI - Juan Encarnacion (33)
Team LOB - 12
DP - Castillo-Delgado
E - Alex Gonzalez (16, Wild throw)
Florida Marlins
Dontrelle Willis (W,19-8) 8.1721140 2.55
Todd Jones (S,33) 0.2100010 1.19
WP - Dontrelle Willis (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Dontrelle Willis 108-72, Todd Jones 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dontrelle Willis 11-9
Batters Faced - Dontrelle Willis 32, Todd Jones 3
Game Information
Attendance - 25916
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 87
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Larry Poncino, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Mark Wegner