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 starts overall.
"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 7.
Joe Borowski came on with runners at first and second and got two outs for his 35th save in 42 chances. He retired Jose Reyes on a fly ball with the bases loaded to end it.
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 said. "Unbelievable."
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 three-run lead.
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.
|Dontrelle Willis helps out his own cause by going yard not once but twice against the Mets. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Hanley Ramirez, SS||5||1||1||1||0||2||0||.285|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||4||0||0||0||1||1||1||.287|
|Josh Willingham, LF||4||0||2||0||1||1||1||.283|
|Eric Reed, PR-CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.111|
|Wes Helms, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||2||3||.302|
|Cody Ross, RF||5||0||1||0||0||0||3||.245|
|Mike Jacobs, 1B||3||1||0||0||2||1||1||.258|
|Reggie Abercrombie, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.213|
|Jason Wood, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Matt Treanor, C||5||1||2||1||0||0||2||.226|
|Alfredo Amezaga, CF-LF||3||1||1||0||2||0||3||.266|
|Dontrelle Willis, P||4||2||3||3||0||0||1||.161|
|Joe Borowski, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|2B - Matt Treanor (6, Perez)|
|HR - Dontrelle Willis 2 (3, Perez, Hernandez)|
|RBI - Hanley Ramirez (53), Matt Treanor (12), Dontrelle Willis 3 (9)|
|SB - Hanley Ramirez (50, 2nd base off Hernandez/Lo Duca)|
|CS - Alfredo Amezaga (12, 2nd base by Hernandez/Lo Duca)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Uggla-H. Ramirez-Jacobs|
|PB - Matt Treanor (2)|
|Dontrelle Willis (W,12-11)||8.1||7||3||3||3||4||0||3.77|
|Joe Borowski (S,35)||0.2||0||0||0||1||0||0||3.99|
|Pitches-Strikes - Dontrelle Willis 124-79, Joe Borowski 17-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dontrelle Willis 12-8, Joe Borowski 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Dontrelle Willis 34, Joe Borowski 3|
|New York Mets|
|Jose Reyes, SS||5||2||2||0||0||0||3||.299|
|Paul Lo Duca, C||4||1||3||1||0||0||1||.316|
|Kelly Stinnett, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.221|
|Carlos Delgado, 1B||4||0||0||1||0||2||3||.262|
|David Wright, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.307|
|Jose Valentin, 2B||2||0||0||1||1||0||1||.273|
|Lastings Milledge, LF||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.242|
|Shawn Green, RF||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.278|
|Endy Chavez, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.310|
|Oliver Perez, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.114|
|Chad Bradford, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Pedro Feliciano, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Chris Woodward, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.209|
|Roberto Hernandez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Heath Bell, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Michael Tucker, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.234|
|a-flied out for Feliciano in the 7th|
|b-walked for Bell in the 9th|
|2B - Jose Reyes (29, Willis), Paul Lo Duca (36, Willis)|
|SF - Jose Valentin (5)|
|RBI - Paul Lo Duca (45), Carlos Delgado (109), Jose Valentin (59)|
|SB - David Wright (20, 2nd base off Willis/Treanor)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|New York Mets|
|Oliver Perez (L,3-12)||5.1||5||3||3||3||6||1||6.53|
|HBP - Helms (by Oliver Perez)|
|WP - Oliver Perez (5), Roberto Hernandez (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 109-64, Chad Bradford 21-13, Pedro Feliciano 10-6, Roberto Hernandez 23-13, Heath Bell 28-21|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 3-7, Chad Bradford 1-1, Pedro Feliciano 1-1, Roberto Hernandez 1-1, Heath Bell 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 25, Chad Bradford 7, Pedro Feliciano 2, Roberto Hernandez 6, Heath Bell 4|
|Attendance - 37911|
|Game Time - 3:04|
|Temperature - 67|
|Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Jim Joyce|