D’backs stymie Marlins

PHOENIX (sun-sentinel.com) - In his Marlins debut Saturday, Paul Lo Duca homered on the first pitch with his new team.

Tuesday, it was reliever Rudy Seanez's turn to don the black and teal for the first time. He needed two pitches to make an equally significant, albeit less positive impact.

Danny Bautista ripped Seanez's 0-1 pitch with a man on over the left-field wall, propelling the Diamondbacks to a 5-3 win at Bank One Ballpark. The Marlins' third consecutive loss kept them six games behind the division-leading Braves, who saw their five-game winning streak end in Houston.

Despite three Lo Duca hits and seven solid innings from starter Dontrelle Willis, the Marlins lost their ninth in a row against a last-place team. The Diamondbacks entered the game with baseball's worst record (33-74) and had won just 16 of 53 at Bank One.

Up next for the Marlins: Randy Johnson.

In the ninth, the Marlins put the tying runs on base with one out against rookie Greg Aquino. Making his 11th career appearance, Aquino induced Mike Lowell to ground to third for a game-ending double play, securing and his third save.

Miguel Cabrera staked the Marlins to a 1-0 lead in the fourth with his team-leading 75th RBI. After Lo Duca and Lowell reached on a single and a walk, respectively, Cabrera ripped Casey Fossum's first offering to center.

Ranked seventh among NL hitters in RBI entering Tuesday's action, Cabrera has driven in at least one run in five of his past seven games.

The lead was short-lived. In the bottom of the inning, third baseman Andy Green fouled off three consecutive Willis 2-2 pitches before lining the eighth delivery of the at-bat to left. Cabrera got a late jump, and the ball glanced off his outstretched glove for a double.

The defensive sequence that followed on Bautista's single to right contributed to a two-run inning.

Juan Encarnacion fielded the ball and threw home even though Green never thought about trying to score from second. The throw was the first mistake. The second was Willis interfering with Lo Duca, who was positioned to make the catch. Willis stuck his glove where it didn't belong and neither player secured the ball, which scooted into foul territory.

Green trotted home on Willis' error, and Bautista advanced into scoring position. He scored two batters later on Luis Terrero's RBI single to center.

Alex Gonzalez's two-out triple to center in the sixth tied it at 2, but the Diamondbacks answered again. Shea Hillenbrand sent Willis' 1-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Hillenbrand's 12th also was just the second homer Willis has surrendered in his past 34 innings.

Willis' outing was better than his pitching line indicated. He completed seven innings for the third time in four starts and threw 13 pitches or less in five of the seven innings, walking just one batter. It was his fifth consecutive outing and sixth in seven appearances that he issued one or no free passes.

In addition to keeping his pitch count down (83), Willis kept his strike count up. He totaled 83 pitches, 75.9 percent for strikes.

Willis started the eighth and served a first-pitch single to Green before giving way to Seanez. He had tossed seven consecutive scoreless innings for the Royals dating to July 22 while holding batters to a .167 average (4 for 24) over that stretch.

By Juan C. Rodriguez
Aug 4, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005 www.miamifootball365.com

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