Loss keeps Marlins in Wild Card tie


PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Florida Marlins are going so badly,
they're even making the Pittsburgh Pirates' depleted pitching staff
look good.

Josh Fogg pitched shutout ball for 7 2-3 innings and Jack Wilson
drove in four runs as the Pirates held the slumping Marlins
scoreless for the second straight game, winning 5-0 Thursday night.

The Marlins were limited to three runs and 12 hits during three
straight losses to the Pirates to finish 1-8 on a three-city road
trip to Colorado, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

Florida had four hits in losing 4-3 Tuesday to Pat Mahomes and
two relievers, three hits in a 4-0 loss to Kip Wells and two
relievers Wednesday and five hits Thursday against Fogg and
relievers Mike Lincoln and Julian Tavarez, who pitched the ninth.

"It's the same thing the whole trip -- you don't get hits,
you're not going to score runs," manager Jack McKeon said. "Their
pitching staff must be pretty good over there. They dazzled us."

Fogg (8-7), who had lost three of four, outpitched Dontrelle
Willis (11-5).

Fogg was denied his first career complete game and shutout when
he was lifted following singles by Lenny Harris and Juan Pierre in
the eighth. Lincoln came on to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam by
getting Juan Encarnacion to ground into a force play.

Fogg held the Marlins hitless until Pierre's two-out single in
the sixth, and Derrek Lee had a double in the seventh as the
Marlins dropped their ninth in their last 10 road decisions.

"I looked up in the fifth and saw that (no-hitter), but I'd
already hit two guys and it was one of those things where if it
happens, OK," Fogg said. "But I wasn't concerned with it. I was
concerned with putting up zeros and winning the game."

Fogg had won just one of his last six starts, pitching into the
seventh inning just once.

Despite the loss, Florida (70-63) is in a virtual four-way tie
for the NL wild-card lead as Philadelphia (70-63) lost its third in
a row at Montreal (71-64), which has gained three games on the
Marlins and Phillies in three days. St. Louis (70-63) tied the
Marlins and Phillies by beating the Cubs 3-2.

Remarkably, the Marlins lost no ground in the standings during
the trip, but also missed an opportunity to distance themselves
from the field.

"We don't dwell on winning streaks ... and we're not going to
dwell on a losing streak," McKeon said. "This is the first time
these guys have been in a race and they're having a tough time
right now. But there are better days ahead."

The Pirates, winning their third straight after losing four in a
row and nine of 13, did most of their damage against Willis, who
lost his third straight decision and fourth in six decisions since
the All-Star break.

Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead in the fourth by making Willis throw
45 pitches -- including seven consecutive foul balls by Wilson on a
3-2 count before his bases-loaded double scored three runs.

"I'm proud of myself for throwing him 13 straight strikes,"
Willis said. "Hey, it was a great at-bat for him. I was going to
make him beat me with my best pitch, every one was a fastball. I
don't want to walk the run in."

Willis, whose agent said the pitcher is beginning to tire due to
the incessant media and public relations demands on him, gave up
seven hits and three runs in five innings. He has allowed 30 earned
runs in his last 46 innings.

"Everybody is praising you when you're up and kicking you when
you're down," Willis said. "I'm always ready for it. My teammates
know I'm going to give it everything I've got every time I pitch."

The rookie left-hander was 9-1 with a 2.08 ERA as one of
baseball's major surprises at the break.

Jason Bay, acquired Tuesday from the Padres in the Brian Giles
trade, started the Pittsburgh fourth with a double to left field --
his third hit in two games with Pittsburgh. He moved to third on
Fogg's infield single with two out, and a walk to Jeff Reboulet
loaded the bases before Wilson worked Willis for the double.

Wilson ran his career-best hitting streak to 15 games, 20-for-57
(.350). He also had a sacrifice fly in the eighth against reliever
Ugueth Urbina. His only other four-RBI game was against Florida on
Sept. 6, 2002.

Game notes
The Pirates' 37 home runs in August are their highest
monthly total since hitting 38 in August 1999. ... Florida is the
only team in the majors without a grand slam this season. The last
Marlins' grand slam was hit by Lee on April 3, 2002, at Montreal.
... Marlins C Ramon Castro was arrested and jailed on rape and
other charges after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her
in his hotel room, officials said. ... Fogg also had his first
career stolen base, in the fourth, and the first by a Pirates
pitcher since Chris Peters on Aug. 25, 1999. ... The consecutive
shutouts were the Pirates' first since July 12-13, 2001, against
Kansas City.