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Ledee finds groove as leadoff hitter

6/25/2002

MIAMI (AP) -- The Philadelphia Phillies made the game such a
snoozer that even the umpires got caught napping.

Confusion about the ball-strike count ended an inning
prematurely, but it made no difference in the outcome because
Philadelphia tied a season high with 17 hits, shaking a slump and
beating the Florida Marlins 15-4 Monday.

Ricky Ledee had a career-high four hits, hiking his average from
.140 to .190, and Vicente Padilla pitched five innings for his 10th
victory. Pat Burrell and Mike Lieberthal each homered and drove in
four runs.

"Hitting is contagious,'' Ledee said. "Sometimes you're going
to hit, and sometimes you won't.''

With a lopsided game and a crowd of 5,465, the atmosphere was so
sleepy that the umpires lost track of the game situation in the
fifth inning. Following a lengthy deliberation they forced the
Phillies to return to the field after both teams thought the inning
was over. Florida failed to score anyway.

Ledee, batting leadoff for the first time in only his ninth
start this season, doubled twice and singled twice. He drove in two
runs, scored three times and earned another start Tuesday, manager
Larry Bowa said.

"He did a great job,'' Bowa said. "He made me look like a
genius.''

Padilla (10-4) won his fourth consecutive decision, allowed two
hits and one run, and lowered his ERA to 2.95.

"If he doesn't make the All-Star team, it's a joke,'' Bowa
said. "It's a no-brainer.''

Padilla was taken out as a precaution after bruising his right
forearm when hit by a pitch. He said he expects to make his next
start as scheduled.

The Phillies, who tied a season high with 17 hits, were coming
off a nine-game homestand in which they batted just .189 and scored
22 runs. They broke out of the slump against Julian Tavarez (5-4),
who allowed five runs in five innings, and added seven runs in the
sixth.

"We needed a night like this,'' said Marlins killer Bobby
Abreu, who went 3-for-4. He hit a two-run homer and hiked his
average against Florida to .351 with 16 home runs.

A sequence in the fifth inning left both teams, the umpires and
the crowd confused.

Florida pinch hitter Pablo Ozuna was hit by a 2-1 pitch as he
swung at it, prompting the umpires to confer regarding their
ruling. While conferring they apparently lost track of the count,
and when the pitch was ruled a strike, the crew said Ozuna had
struck out and the inning was over.

The Phillies hustled to their dugout and the Marlins reluctantly
took the field. But before the next inning began, plate umpire Bill
Hohn telephoned the press box, determined the pitch to Ozuna was
only strike two and ordered the Phils back onto the field.

''(Marlins manager) Jeff Torborg came out and said, 'I don't
think the count is correct,''' crew chief Larry Young said. "We
called up to the press box. ... At that point we had to bring
everybody back.''

Ozuna then reached on an infield single and Castillo walked, but
Andy Fox flied out to end the inning, this time for good.

After a stretch of rainy afternoons during the current 13-game
homestand, the Marlins took batting practice for the first time in
more than a week. But they mustered only four hits until the ninth,
when Kevin Millar and Ramon Castro homered.

Luis Castillo, making his first start since his 35-game hitting
streak ended, went 0-for-3 with two walks.

The Phils' first seven batters in the sixth reached and scored,
all against rookie Hansel Izquierdo, who failed to record an out.
His ERA rose from 2.43 to 4.55.

Abreu had one of six doubles by the Phils, who increased their
NL-leading total to 155. Burrell drove in runs with a single,
double, fielder's choice and his 18th homer. Lieberthal went
3-for-4, including his sixth homer and a three-run double.

"For a team that's struggling offensively, they sure didn't
show it,'' Florida outfielder Cliff Floyd said.

Game notes
Jeremy Giambi drew four walks, giving him 20 in 23 games
with Philadelphia. ... The Marlins' staff had given up only seven
runs in the past six games. ... Florida backup catcher Mike Redmond
made his major league debut at first base in the eighth.