Series: Game 1 of 3

Florida leads 1-0 (as of 5/28)

Game 1: Friday, May 28
NY Mets1Final
Game 2: Saturday, May 29
NY Mets2Final
in 10
Game 3: Sunday, May 30
NY Mets6Final

Mets 1

(23-24, 10-13 away)

Marlins 2


    7:35 PM ET, May 28, 2004

    Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida 

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    FLA 11000000 - 2 6 1

    W: D. Willis (5-3)

    L: T. Glavine (6-3)

    S: A. Benitez (19)

    Willis now 4-0 versus Mets

    MIAMI (AP) -- Florida's Dontrelle Willis found his groove again, at the expense of a team he's dominated throughout his brief major league career -- the New York Mets.

    Willis allowed four hits and one run in seven innings, winning for only the second time in his last six starts and lifting the Marlins over the Mets 2-1 on Friday night.

    Luis Castillo had three hits, scored one run and drove in the other for Florida, who stayed atop the NL East by one game over Philadelphia and beat the Mets for the ninth time in their last 11 meetings dating to last season.

    And Willis (5-3) beat the Mets for the fourth time in as many starts, yielding only two runs in 28 innings in those matchups.

    "The ball bounced my way today," Willis said. "I got some key plays, was able to get some key outs and the bullpen pitched great."

    Todd Zeile hit his third homer of the year for the Mets, who lost for just the fifth time in their last 14 games.

    "He's always going to be competitive," Zeile said of Willis, last year's NL rookie of the year. "If he gets a fastball on both sides of the plate, he's going to be tough."

    Armando Benitez, facing his former team for the first time since they traded him to the New York Yankees last July, pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances. He now has saved at least one game against all 30 major league teams.

    "We're used to seeing what you saw tonight, going right out there after the big guys, getting the big hitters out," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "He's done it all year for us. It was a very, very huge performance tonight to go out there and put his former team down."

    Willis rolled through the first three innings, yet found trouble in the fourth. Zeile homered to lead off, Cliff Floyd walked and Mike Piazza followed with a single that got by Marlins right fielder Miguel Cabrera, who was charged with an error.

    But Willis got out of the jam with runners on second and third with no outs by striking out Shane Spencer and, after intentionally walking Jason Phillips to load the bases, fanning Mike Cameron. Ty Wigginton lined out to center to end the inning.

    "That was our best shot. We came up empty," Mets manager Art Howe said. "It could have been had."

    Tom Glavine (6-3) was coming off a one-hitter Sunday against Colorado, but the Marlins -- who entered hitting .270 off left-handers -- scratched out two early runs against the Mets' best starter this season.

    "Tommy pitched as good as he could pitch," Howe said. "That was an outstanding performance."

    Said Glavine: "This is a little bit more frustrating than others."

    Castillo led off the first with a single, advanced to third on two groundouts and scored on Miguel Cabrera's single for a 1-0 Florida lead.

    Hee Seop Choi's leadoff double -- a ricochet shot off the first-base bag -- led to another Florida run in the second. Castillo's two-out single to left was enough to score Choi from second and put Florida up 2-0.

    "I thought it was foul," Glavine said of Choi's double. "But I didn't have time to worry about it."

    The two runs would be all the Marlins would muster against Glavine, who scattered five hits, walked two and struck out one.

    But Willis made sure the two runs would be enough. Starting with the strikeout of Cameron, Willis -- who was 1-3 with an 8.25 ERA over his last five starts -- retired the last 11 he faced.

    "That's what we needed. That's what he needed," McKeon said. "One little break. He hadn't gotten many of late. He got a break, got back in the winning column again. Got to be a big lift for him."

    Game notes

    Cabrera will get a day off Saturday, McKeon said. Cabrera has been slowed by a twinge in his left hamstring and was taken out of Friday's game in the seventh. "Nothing serious," McKeon said. ... Florida (28-20) matched a season high by moving eight games over the .500 mark. ... Piazza extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... Florida's first-inning run was the first allowed by a Mets starter in their last 22 1-3 innings. ... Willis, who entered hitting .368, walked on four pitches in the second. ... Cameron is 0-for-5 with the bases loaded this season, with four strikeouts. ... Speedy Florida OF Juan Pierre grounded into his sixth double play, three less than he did in all of 2003.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press