Lowell adds another homer for Marlins

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- 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

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.

Game 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.