Marlins rally past Phillies, keep pace with Astros

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Florida Marlins relied on four rookie
pitchers and an injured catcher to get an important win.

Pinch-hitter Paul Lo Duca's two-run single in the seventh inning
helped the Marlins beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-6 Saturday

Carlos Delgado, Jeff Conine and Damion Easley each had three
hits for Florida, which remained a half-game behind Houston in the
NL wild-card race. The Phillies fell 2½ games behind the Astros.

"It showed what our club is made of," Marlins manager Jack
McKeon said. "We could've been buried after falling behind their
best pitcher, but we kept coming back with clutch hitting."

For the second time in three games, Philadelphia's bullpen
failed to hold a lead. On Wednesday, Billy Wagner allowed a
three-run homer to Craig Biggio with two outs in the ninth inning
in an 8-6 loss to Houston.

The Marlins rallied against Ryan Madson (6-5) in the seventh.
Delgado was hit by a pitch with one out and Conine singled.
Easley's RBI single to center cut it to 6-5. After Juan Pierre was
intentionally walked to load the bases, pinch-hitter Juan
Encarnacion struck out.

But Lo Duca, who wasn't in the starting lineup for the second
straight game because of a hamstring injury, drove in Conine and
Easley with a single to left.

"He's playing hurt, but he's a gamer and a clutch player,"
McKeon said of Lo Duca. "That's why you like to have him out
there, even if he can't run."

The Marlins are used to seeing Lo Duca deliver in clutch
situations. The three-time All-Star is hitting .295 with 52 RBI,
and has six RBI in 11 at-bats as a pinch-hitter.

"He's done that all year for us, coming through with big
hits," Pierre said.

Chris Resop (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for his first win in
the majors. He was recalled from Double-A Carolina earlier in the

Todd Jones got the final four outs for his 36th save in 38
chances, and 26th in a row. He retired Pat Burrell on a grounder to
third with two runners on to end the eighth.

Resop was the fourth rookie used by McKeon. Jason Vargas
started, lasting just two innings and giving up three runs and five
hits. Josh Johnson pitched two scoreless innings in his major
league debut and Randy Messenger gave up three runs in the fifth.

"If they can't pitch, they shouldn't be here," McKeon said.

After Florida scored twice to take a 4-3 lead in the fifth
against Brett Myers, the Phillies came back with three runs in
their half of the inning.

Chase Utley led off with a homer deep into the right-center
field seats off Randy Messenger. After Ryan Howard walked, Mike
Lieberthal lined a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field wall to
give the Phillies a 6-4 lead.

"We left a lot of guys on base," Phillies manager Charlie
Manuel said. "We played a little sloppy."

Bobby Abreu's RBI single in the first gave the Phillies a 1-0
lead. Myers helped himself with a bloop single in the second that
made it 2-0, and Jimmy Rollins followed with an RBI double, giving
Philadelphia a 3-0 lead.

Myers allowed four runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings, his
second-shortest outing this season. The right-hander, who was
outstanding early in the season, has struggled lately. He's 3-2
with a 4.80 ERA in his last eight starts.

Game notes
Rollins had two doubles and a triple, extending his
career-best hitting streak to 16 games. He was picked off first
base in the eighth. ... Marlins rookie RF Jeremy Hermida struck out
four times. ... Utley has 22 homers and 84 RBI, despite being
platooned in the first two months. ... Conine is hitting .522
(12-for-23) against the Phillies this season. ... Burrell went
0-for-4 and stranded eight runners.