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Marlins win 12th straight vs. visiting Phillies

MIAMI (AP) -- The Philadelphia Phillies are ailing, and the
Florida Marlins keep making matters worse.

Mike Lowell hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning
Tuesday night and Florida set a franchise record for consecutive
home victories against one opponent by beating Philadelphia 5-2.

The Phillies have lost 12 consecutive games in Miami, including
five this year.

"I'm embarrassed; they should be embarrassed," Philadelphia
manager Larry Bowa said angrily. "There are no excuses. We're
getting beat."

The Phillies did have the excuse of being short-handed. Major
league home run leader Jim Thome was held out of the starting
lineup because he had the flu, and two relievers remained
sidelined. Closer Billy Wagner is out with a sore shoulder, and
right-hander Ryan Madson went on the disabled list Tuesday with a
sprained pinky.

Thome pinch-hit in the seventh inning and walked. Complaining of
dizziness, he left the game for a pinch runner and returned to the
team hotel.

Carl Pavano (11-4) allowed seven hits and two runs in eight
innings to help the Marlins improve to 9-1 against the Phillies
this season. Florida has won 21 of the past 24 games in the rivalry
dating back to last year.

"Maybe they're the reading the articles and believing it or
trying too hard," Pavano said.

"It just seems like we click when they come to town," Lowell
said. "I wish I knew what it was -- we'd use it against the Expos
and Pirates."

With the score 2-all in the eighth, Lowell hit a 3-2 pitch over
the scoreboard off Rheal Cormier (4-4). One batter later, the game
was halted because of rain for 58 minutes. When play resumed, Jeff
Conine hit an RBI double off Roberto Hernandez, then scored on a
single by Alex Gonzalez.

"They're having our number this year," Cormier said. "We
haven't played well against them."

Lowell's home run was his 22nd this season and the 130th of his
career, surpassing Derrek Lee's franchise record of 129.

Lowell acknowledged that his total was modest by the standards
of older franchises.

"Being the leading home run hitter for the Florida Marlins
carries a lot of prestige," he said jokingly. "I hope I never
have to pay for another meal in a restaurant in the South Florida
area ever again."

Josias Manzanillo pitched a perfect ninth for his first save
since 2001. Armando Benitez, who has 33 saves, was unavailable
because of elbow inflammation and is expected to be sidelined at
least one more day.

Miguel Cabrera drove in Florida's first two runs with a double
in the third off Randy Wolf. Philadelphia tied the game at 2 with
two outs in the seventh on Mike Lieberthal's RBI single and Jimmy
Rollins' run-scoring double.

The Phillies, who stranded 14 runners Monday in a loss to
Florida, squandered early scoring chances against Pavano. They
loaded the bases in the third, but Bobby Abreu hit into an
inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. Placido Polanco reached third in
the sixth before Pat Burrell flied out to end the inning.

Florida took a 2-0 lead in the third. Juan Pierre doubled and
Luis Castillo walked, and both scored on a two-out double by
Cabrera.

"When they need a two-out hit, they get it," Bowa said. "And
when they need a two-out pitch, they get it. I'm not telling you
anything about us. I'm telling you what the Marlins do to beat
us."

More bad news for Philadelphia: Two games remain in the series.

"Forget about the record," Polanco said. "We can't let that
get to our heads. If Wednesday we come out thinking about the
record, they will already have the advantage."

Game notes
Benitez underwent an MRI on his elbow, which was negative.
... The Marlins' old record for consecutive home victories against
one opponent was 11 in a row against Houston from 1995 to 1997. ...
Pavano improved his career record to 50-54, and he improved to 1-5
at home against the Phillies. ... Castillo improved his average
against Wolf to .421 (16-for-38). ... The rain delay was just the
second this season in Miami.