MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Switch-hitter Alfredo Amezaga changed his mind
before his final plate appearance; he wouldn't choke up on the bat
despite a 2-for-29 slump against lefties.
Amezaga singled in the go-ahead run off Brian Shouse in the 10th
inning and Florida beat Milwaukee 9-6 Saturday night to extend the
Brewers' losing streak to a season-high nine games.
"Everybody says I can't hit from the right side," he said.
"But in a big situation is when it's pretty important."
Marlins manager Joe Girardi called it the biggest win all year
after Joe Borowski (3-2) gave up Geoff Jenkins' tying two-run homer
with two outs in the ninth. Taylor Tankersley pitched the 10th for
his third save in five chances.
"They're very resilient. They have lots of character, lots of
heart and lots of fight in them," Girardi said. "It tells you our
Florida is 68-69 and trying to become the first team since 1899
to reach the .500 mark after falling 20 games below, according to
the Elias Sports Bureau. The Marlins were 11-31 on May 21.
"I can't tell you how far it felt like in early May, but now
it's right there," Willingham said. "That was a goal, once we
started to get somewhat close. Now, it's right in front of us."
Borowski, who had his fifth blown save of the season, retired
the first two in the ninth but Mike Rivera doubled and Jenkins hit
a 1-2 pitch out to right to tie it at 6.
Willingham led off the 10th with a walk against Derrick Turnbow
(4-9) and Jacobs singled to put runners on the corners with no
outs. Shouse relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Cody Ross but
Amezaga singled past diving second baseman Tony Graffanino to give
Florida a 7-6 lead.
"It was so close," Shouse said. "Just a few inches and we're
out of there. That's a bummer, a heartbreak."
Ramirez added a two-run single off reliever Dan Kolb before
being thrown out trying to reach second to end the 10th.
"We can't get a break, it's a part of the game," Brewers
manager Ned Yost said. "Sometimes you make your own breaks and we
haven't done much of that either."
Ramirez also hit a leadoff homer in the eighth, and the Marlins
scored two more runs off RBI singles by Willingham and Joe Borchard
to go ahead 6-4.
Brewers starter Ben Sheets dominated the Marlins early, and
Florida didn't have a hit until Willingham's single in the fourth.
But Jacobs followed with his 18th homer of the year to cut the
Brewers' lead to 3-2.
Rivera hit a solo homer in the fourth for Milwaukee, and
Willingham added one of his own in the sixth.
Johnson, who defeated Sheets in his previous start five days
ago, struggled to find the strike zone. Johnson was leading the
majors in ERA coming into the start, but it rose to 2.99 after he
allowed four runs. He now trails Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter
(2.87) and Minnesota's Johan Santana (2.95) in his quest to be the
first rookie since Detroit's Mark Fidrych in 1976 to lead the major
leagues in ERA.
Johnson was finished after six innings, allowing six hits and
three walks while striking out six. Sheets allowed four hits and
struck out eight.
Milwaukee's nine-game skid is its longest since it lost 12
straight in 2004.
"You think you're about to break out of it and you turn around
and it socks you right in the face," Sheets said.
The 1899 Louisville Colonels were 16-38 before climbing
back to reach .500. That team ended up two games below .500 for the
season. ... Willingham and Jacobs combined to go 5-for-7 with four
runs and four RBI. ... Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (11-9, 4.75 ERA)
was scratched from Monday's start against Arizona with a sore right
hamstring. RHP Brian Moehler (7-8, 6.04 ERA) will start in his
place. ... The Brewers surpassed 2 million fans for the third
consecutive season after their 14th sellout with 44,005 in