Embattled Girardi leads Marlins to sixth win in row

MIAMI (AP) -- With their manager's future in doubt, the Florida
Marlins keep winning.

Joe Girardi's overachieving young team won its sixth game in a
row Saturday, climbing within four games of .500 for the first time
since April by beating Milwaukee 7-2.

The surge comes as a feud festers between Girardi and owner
Jeffrey Loria.

"That's between him and him," said Dontrelle Willis, who
pitched seven innings. "It shouldn't overshadow what the 25 guys
in here are doing. These are all playoff-type games for us. It's
good we're responding this way."

Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez drove in two runs apiece to
help Florida pull within four games of NL wild-card leader
Cincinnati. Willis said Girardi has played a role in the Marlins'
surprising success.

"Skip is doing a great job of keeping us humble and poised,"
Willis said. "I love the job he is doing."

Before the latest victory, Loria declined to endorse Girardi's
work in his first year as manager. There has been speculation
Girardi won't return next season because of their rift, which
became public three weeks ago.

"We'll sit down at the end of the season and figure out what
we're going to do," Loria said.

Girardi declined to comment.

"I just talk about the guys on the field," he said.

The Marlins' late-season soap opera is starting to attract
attention: The crowd of 30,017 was their fourth-largest of the

"So many people told us we were going to lose 100 or 120
games," said Mike Jacobs, who hit his 17th home run. "We're
proving a lot of people wrong."

Fans had plenty to cheer about early. The first three batters
scored against Doug Davis (9-8), and by the fourth inning the
Marlins led 7-1.

Cabrera doubled home two runs in the first to tie the team
record for RBI in a month with 30. Willis (9-10) limited Milwaukee
to seven hits and two runs, giving him back-to-back victories for
only the second time this season.

"He kept mixing it up with fastballs in and fastballs away, and
kept us off balance for the majority of the game," said Bill Hall,
who struck out twice. "He had a little lead to work with, and that
always makes it easier for a pitcher."

Davis allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, hiking his road ERA
to 6.46.

"I just didn't really do my job tonight," he said. "I fell
behind hitters, and these guys are swinging the bat real well right
now. They kept on hitting it where we weren't."

The Brewers fell to 23-41 on the road.

Ramirez led off Florida's first with a double, Dan Uggla walked
and Cabrera doubled for a 2-0 lead. Cody Ross' two-out single
scored Cabrera.

Jacobs slapped his helmet in frustration when he barely missed a
double in the third, pulling a ball that landed just outside the
right-field foul line. He homered on the next pitch to make it 5-0.

The last time the Marlins were within four games of .500 was at

"We've still got to get to .500," Girardi said. "Hopefully we
can keep inching up there."

Game notes
Milwaukee's David Bell was ejected after arguing a called
third strike in the ninth inning. ... University of Miami Family
Night gave attendance a boost, generating season high group sales
of 11,200. ... Milwaukee RHP Derrick Turnbow, demoted last month
from the closer's role, walked two, threw two wild pitches and hit
a batter in 1 1-3 innings. Turnbow also batted for the first time
this season in the fifth inning and struck out.