Phillies bullpen falters

MIAMI (AP) -- The one was reminiscent of Florida's championship

The Marlins trailed early, rallied late, and the bullpen held on
for the final few outs. The defending World Series champions are
still getting good pitching and timely hitting.

Mike Lowell had three hits and drove in two runs to lift the
Marlins over the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Friday night.

Lowell's third hit sparked a three-run sixth inning that tied
the game. Luis Castillo added a two-out RBI single in the seventh.
And the pen was perfect in the final three innings.

"They got hits when they had to. That's why they're getting
rings tomorrow night," said Phillies manager Larry Bowa, referring
to Florida's pregame ceremony Saturday to hand out World Series

It was the Phillies' 11th loss in 13 games against the Marlins.
Four of the last five have been one-run contests.

The Marlins were one of the main reasons the Phillies failed to
make the playoffs last season. Philadelphia lost 10 of the last 12
between the teams and fell five games behind Florida for the wild
card spot.

The Phillies seemed to have this one in hand. Pat Burrell had an
RBI double off the wall in the first and a two-run single in the
fifth to build a 3-0 lead.

Eric Milton was cruising along, too.

Making his first start for the Phillies and just his fourth
since 2002 because of knee injury, Milton allowed two runs and six
hits in five-plus innings. He left in the sixth after Miguel
Cabrera doubled with Luis Castillo aboard.

Bowa brought in Rheal Cormier to face Lowell, but the usually
reliable left-hander promptly gave up a two-run double.

"We don't know how to put them away," Bowa said.

Cormier went 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA last season in 84 2-3 innings.
Jeff Conine followed Lowell with a hit, and Lowell scored on Ramon
Castro's hard-hit single over Burrell's head.

Cormier (1-1) pitched to five batters, allowed two runs on four
hits and had his nine-game winning streak snapped. Hall of Famer
Grover Cleveland Alexander was the last Phillies pitcher to win
more than nine in a row, stringing together 10 straight in 1913.

Matt Perisho (2-0) got Bobby Abreu to ground out with runners on
first and second to end the seventh. Chad Fox struck out two in a
perfect eighth, and Armando Benitez did the same in the ninth for
his third save this season and the 200th of his career.

"I can't wait to take it to 300," Benitez said, the game ball
perched on a shelf in his locker. "Right now I'm very happy."

Carl Pavano gave the Marlins their fourth solid start in as many
games. He scattered eight hits and gave up three runs in 6 2-3
innings. He did it with his parents and girlfriend, actress Alyssa
Milano, watching from behind home plate.

"Hopefully I looked better in person than I do on TV," he

The champs looked just as good as last season, too. While many
picked the Phillies to win the NL East, the Marlins want to show
they are still as talented as the team that beat the San Francisco
Giants, the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees to claim the
title last year.

The Marlins have scored just 13 runs, but have no errors and
have allowed opponents a .197 batting average in four games.

"That's the kind of games we've got to go with," manager Jack
McKeon said.

Game notes
Philadelphia also allowed Jose Mesa's 300th career save on
opening day against Pittsburgh. ... Wil Cordero made his first
start for the Marlins, replacing Hee Seop Choi at first base. ...
Burrell improved his average to .467.