CHICAGO (AP) -- Dontrelle Willis was too tough for the Chicago
Cubs -- on the mound and at the plate.
Willis pitched seven strong innings to become the first 11-game
winner in the majors, leading the Florida Marlins to a 9-1 victory
over the Cubs on Monday night.
"I'm just having fun and playing the game the way I know how to
play," Willis said.
Willis gave up one run and seven hits, struck out five and
walked none. He also had two hits and drove in a run in the fifth,
when the Marlins broke open the game with seven runs.
"He's the stopper, the savior and everything else," Marlins
manager Jack McKeon said. "I don't care whether we start him or DH
Miguel Cabrera, Paul Lo Duca and Alex Gonzalez each drove in two
runs for the Marlins, who won for the third time in four games
after losing eight of 10. Luis Castillo hit his first homer of the
season in the ninth.
Willis (11-2) won his third straight start as the Marlins opened
a 12-game, four-city road trip, their longest of the season.
"It was a big game for us today, starting off the road trip,"
Willis said. "We came ready to play."
Willis beat the team that drafted him for the first time in four
career starts. He has already surpassed his win total from last
season, when he went 10-11.
"He's definitely gotten a lot better since the last time I
faced him," said catcher Michael Barrett, who went 0-for-3 against
Willis. "Today he mixed up speeds more than anything else. I think
that's what kept us frustrated and unable to get any runs today."
John Koronka (1-2) gave up six runs and seven hits with three
walks in 4 1/3 innings.
After Willis singled in the fifth, Juan Pierre beat out a
double-play grounder and Castillo singled past a diving Derrek Lee
at first base to put runners on first and third. Cabrera and Carlos
Delgado each followed with run-scoring singles for a 3-1 lead.
Barrett said Willis' leadoff single was the turning point in the
game, because it brought up the speedy Pierre with a man on base.
"To be able to get some knocks and put [Koronka] in a hard
situation, that's good," Willis said.
After a meeting with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Koronka
walked Mike Lowell to load the bases, ending his third start of the
season. Koronka has given up 13 runs and 19 hits in 15 1/3 innings
since getting called up from Triple-A Iowa.
"We have to go back to the drawing board and see what our
options are, including him," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He
threw the ball better tonight early than he had in his last couple
Former closer Joe Borowski entered and gave up a pair of two-run
doubles to Lo Duca and Gonzalez and a run-scoring single to Willis.
Borowski was booed leaving the field after getting Pierre to bounce
into a force to end the inning.
"We put together some good at-bats in that inning," Delgado
said. "You want to take advantage of situations like that."
The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the third. Pierre led off with an
infield single, took second on Koronka's balk and stole third. He
scored two batters later on Cabrera's RBI groundout.
Lowell jammed his ankle sliding into third base in the
fourth inning. "It looks like he'll be OK tomorrow," McKeon said.
... Al Leiter (2-6, 6.75 ERA) is moving to the bullpen for now as
the Marlins will temporarily go with four starters with two off
days in the next week. Leiter hasn't pitched out of the bullpen
since 1993 with Toronto. ... It was the second time this season the
Cubs have given up seven runs in an inning. The other came on May 1
at Houston in the fifth inning. ... This was the first meeting of
the season for the teams, who built a rivalry when the Marlins won
the 2003 NL championship series in seven games en route to the
World Series title. ... Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood gave up one run in
three innings in his first rehab start at Triple-A Iowa on Monday.
He struck out three and walked two, throwing 46 pitches. He also
tripled and scored.