The Montreal right-hander came into Thursday night's game with
an 8-3 record against the Marlins and had wins in his last two
This time Florida finally got to Hernandez, overcoming a 3-0
deficit and defeating the Expos 4-3. Willis won for the first time
in five starts.
"I knew going against Livan that he isn't going to give up a
lot," Willis said. "I kept us in the game and put the pressure
back on him. We need every single game we can win."
Juan Encarnacion hit a two-run triple to tie the game in the
fifth, and Jeff Conine drove in the go-ahead run with a
sixth-inning single. The Marlins earned their 25th comeback victory
and remained 3½ games behind San Francisco in the NL wild-card
Hernandez (10-14) took the loss despite pitching his major
league-leading eighth complete game. He gave up eight hits and five
walks, striking out three. Tony Batista hit his 28th homer for the
Willis (10-9) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings.
He was lifted for a pinch-runner after his leadoff single in the
"This game showed what this team is made of," Marlins manager
Jack McKeon said. "We were down 3-0 but we didn't quit and bounced
Florida took a 4-3 lead in the sixth when Conine's one-out
single drove in Paul Lo Duca from second. Lo Duca stumbled slightly
rounding third but evaded catcher Brian Schneider's tag and touched
home plate with his left hand.
"We fought out a tough win against a good pitcher," Conine
said. "He likes to keep pitches away. I saw a hole on the right
side so I tried to put the ball there."
The Marlins tied the score at 3 in the fifth. Hernandez walked
Conine to open the inning, then gave up a single to Damion Easley.
Encarnacion followed with a two-run triple and scored on a
sacrifice fly by Alex Gonzalez.
"Encarnacion has come through with some clutch hits for us the
last three weeks," McKeon said. "He's also done a great job with
Hernandez had allowed only three Marlins to reach base until the
"That was the game -- the three runs in one inning," Hernandez
said. "We lost the game in that inning."
Batista's two-out homer off Willis in the fifth put the Expos
Montreal took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. With one out,
Juan Rivera singled, then Willis walked the next two batters to
load the bases. Endy Chavez hit a two-out single up the middle that
drove in two runs.
Batista's home run was the first allowed by Willis to
Montreal in 23 1-3 innings. ... Willis' single was his 14th hit of
the season. ... Florida's Juan Pierre has hit safely in 22 of his
last 25 games. ... Either Batista or Brad Wilkerson has homered in
the Expos' last seven games. ... Batista is three RBI from
becoming the ninth player in team history to reach 100.