Originally created 04/23/04

Marlins squeak past Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies might have better luck against the Florida Marlins in a boxing ring. They haven't had much success against them on the field.

Mike Lowell homered again and Mike Redmond also connected, helping Florida beat Philadelphia 9-7 Thursday for another sweep of the Phillies in a game that featured a bench-clearing brawl.

Phillies catcher Todd Pratt and Marlins shortstop Alex Gonzalez were ejected for starting a melee in the second inning after Brett Myers threw a high and inside pitch to Gonzalez.

"You can't take that. You do nothing, the next time he hits you," Gonzalez said, adding that he wasn't going to charge the mound.

Pratt said he just wanted to go out and talk to Myers.

"I had to defend myself as soon as he raised his hands," Pratt said. "He underestimated me. I'm a big guy, but I can box. I grew up in a rough neighborhood."

Lowell, who homered three times in Florida's 8-7, 12-inning win Wednesday night, struck out his first three at-bats, but hit a two-run shot off Rheal Cormier in the ninth.

The World Series champion Marlins held on for their third straight three-game sweep over Philadelphia. The Phillies scored twice in the ninth before Armando Benitez struck out Jim Thome, who homered earlier, with two on to end it.

Florida has won 18 of the last 20 games - six in a row this year - against the Phillies, who blew a slim wild-card lead over Florida down the stretch last season.

Thome connected for the second time in two games. The Phillies have lost three straight after winning four in a row.

Darren Oliver (2-1) allowed five runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. Benitez got his eighth save in eight chances, including five against the Phillies.

Myers (0-1) gave up seven runs and 11 hits in six innings.

"I flat-out stunk," Myers said.

After Redmond homered in the second inning, Myers' next pitch almost hit Gonzalez, who took a step toward the mound and pointed at the pitcher.

Pratt quickly stepped in and exchanged words with Gonzalez. The Marlins shortstop swatted at Pratt, who then retaliated with a right cross.

Both benches cleared as Pratt, in a boxing stance, threw several punches. Meanwhile, Marlins pitcher Carl Pavano threw Phillies third baseman David Bell to the ground.

"I wasn't trying to hit him. He overreacted," said Myers, who had hit Miguel Cabrera in the first inning.

Marlins manager Jack McKeon wasn't buying it.

"You can't hit a homer off him?" McKeon said incredulously.

Thome, Pat Burrell and Bell hit consecutive singles on Oliver's first three pitches following the brawl.

Redmond's two-run double in the fourth put Florida ahead 3-2. Oliver and Luis Castillo added RBI singles for a 5-2 lead.

Mike Lieberthal, who replaced Pratt, hit a bases-loaded double in the fourth to cut it to 5-4.

Bell came around third base right behind Burrell and knocked over Redmond, who held onto the throw from Castillo to record the out. Lieberthal went to third on the play, but was stranded.

A groundout by Castillo drove in a run and Cabrera added an RBI single for a 7-4 lead in the sixth.

Thome's 445-foot shot into the second deck in right field cut it to 7-5 in the sixth.

Redmond's homer gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead.

Notes: The Marlins' 11-4 start is the best in franchise history through 15 games. Their 1997 championship team opened 10-5. ... The Marlins have won nine of 11 in Philadelphia. ... Lowell has an eight-game hitting streak. ... Myers is 1-4 against Florida. ... Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins misplayed a grounder for his first error. ... Many fans among the crowd of 35,880 spent the final inning chanting, "Let's Go Flyers." The Flyers opened a second-round NHL playoff series against Toronto on Thursday night.


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