Homers sink Phillies in Florida

June 11, 2008 7:31:05 PM PDT
Dan Uggla hit a game-ending grand slam with one out in the ninth inning and the Florida Marlins beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 Wednesday for their second win in as many nights against the NL East leaders. Jorge Cantu homered twice for the Marlins off Cole Hamels, who was nearly flawless otherwise. Hamels struck out 13 in eight innings.

Tom Gordon relieved Hamels to start the ninth and gave up a single to Cantu and a pair of walks. Gordon (5-3) fell behind Uggla as well, and the Marlins' stocky little slugger crushed a 3-1 offering high over the left-field scoreboard for his 19th home run.

Uggla lifted his right arm to the sky, and was mobbed at the plate as the Phillies walked off the field slowly and stunned. It was the second game-ending slam in Marlins history: Bobby Bonilla did it in 1997 against the Colorado Rockies.

Kevin Gregg (5-2) got the win after blowing his fourth save in 16 chances this year. Chase Utley, who leads the majors with 21 homers, beat out a double-play relay to drive in the tying run in the ninth.

Up until the ninth inning, the pitchers were in charge.

Cantu hit a solo homer in the first, and Hamels responded by retiring the next 17 Marlins he faced. That streak ended in the seventh when Cantu struck again, marking his second multihomer game in five days.

Marlins starter Andrew Miller was plenty dominant in his own right. He retired 13 straight at one point, and ended up allowing only one run and four hits in seven innings while striking out seven.

Gregg entered in the ninth with a 2-1 lead and quickly got into a first-and-third, no-out situation after a single, a walk and a stolen base.

Gregg struck Shane Victorino out on an 82 mph breaking ball, then got Utley to hit a grounder to second that could have ended the game - but shortstop Hanley Ramirez double-clutched the ball before throwing to first, allowing Utley to beat the play and bringing pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett home with the tying run.

The Phils would up leaving the bases loaded in the ninth, and Uggla made them pay.

Gordon walked Ramirez to open the ninth, then walked Wes Helms three batters later to load the bases.

The way Miller was rolling along, it seemed like Florida could have its first complete game since Sept. 10, 2006, when Dontrelle Willis threw a three-hitter to beat the Phillies 3-0.

The losing pitcher that night? Hamels, who gave up three hits in this game. Take away Cantu's 2-for-3 showing, and everyone else in the Marlins' lineup went 1-for-23 against the Philadelphia left-hander.

The Marlins have the most home runs in baseball (101), with the Phillies second on that list with 95 - 11 more than any other team entering Wednesday's play. Florida and Philadelphia rank second and third, respectively, in slugging percentage among all major league teams, and both are among baseball's top five in runs scored.

Miller faced the minimum 18 batters through six innings.

He allowed a single to Jimmy Rollins leading off the game, then another single by Pedro Feliz to open the sixth. In each instance, the next batter hit into a double play.

The Phillies finally broke through in the seventh. Victorino hit a one-out double to center field, then came home on Utley's sharp single. Cantu put the Marlins ahead in their half of the seventh with his 14th homer of the year.

Notes: With a shift on, Phillies 1B Ryan Howard grounded into a 6-5 fielder's choice in the seventh. The Marlins had Helms move from third to the second base spot for the shift, leaving Ramirez to play short. Helms took the flip from Ramirez and tagged out Utley, who beat the play but overslid the bag. ... Marlins LF Josh Willingham (back) went 0-for-4 with a walk in an extended spring training game Wednesday. He'll report to Double-A Carolina to begin a rehab assignment on Thursday. ... A fan in Section 253, in the lower level just to the left of home plate, caught a foul ball without benefit of his hands or a glove. He caught it in his beer cup, and yes, he resumed drinking after removing the souvenir. ...

Wednesday marked the 22nd anniversary of the Phillies scoring a club-record 26 runs in a win over the Mets, a game where Von Hayes hit two homers in the first inning.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-06-11-08 2202EDT ODY TEXT


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