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Marlins forced to send pitcher to plate in 11th

6/26/2002

MIAMI (AP) -- The Florida Marlins simply ran out of options, a
fact the Philadelphia Phillies were more than happy to exploit.

Dan Plesac struck out pinch-hitter Michael Tejera -- Florida's
scheduled starting pitcher the next day -- in the 11th inning to cap
the Phillies' 7-6 win Tuesday night.

Jimmy Rollins scored a career-high four runs, including the one
that put the Phillies ahead to stay in the 11th, and Bobby Abreu
had three hits.

Jose Mesa (2-4) worked two scoreless innings for the win.

''We were lucky. Very lucky,'' said Phillies manager Larry Bowa,
whose team trailed 4-1 after five innings.

Philadelphia scored twice in the 11th inning. Florida's Mike
Lowell, who had three hits, led off the bottom of the inning with
his 12th home run of the year.

Three batters later, knowing the pitcher's spot was in the
on-deck circle and that the Marlins had no position players left,
Bowa called for Plesac to intentionally walk Preston Wilson with
two outs.

The move worked, as Plesac struck Tejera out on four pitches to
end the game.

''I'm not letting Wilson, a guy with that kind of power, beat
me,'' Bowa said. ''I'm going to make a pitcher beat me. That's a
no-brainer for me.''

Florida took a 5-4 lead into the ninth, but closer Vladimir
Nunez blew his fifth save in 22 chances when Abreu's single brought
in Rollins with the tying run. Abreu is 6-for-9 with five runs
scored in the first two games of this series, both won by the
Phillies.

''We can't get Abreu out to save our lives,'' Florida manager
Jeff Torborg said.

The Marlins got runners into scoring position in the ninth and
10th innings, but failed to push the winning run across. Torborg
wanted to use Tejera as a pinch-runner in the 10th, but Tejera was
charting pitches and did not have his spikes on.

So Torborg used Homer Bush as the pinch-runner, and eventually
ran out of position players.

''I wasn't jittery or nervous,'' said Plesac, who recorded his
first save of the season and third since the start of the 1999
season. ''I just needed to relax and throw one pitch at a time.''

Rollins led off the 11th with a single against Vic Darensbourg
(1-2), the fifth Marlins pitcher. Rollins later scored on Pat
Burrell's sacrifice fly, and pinch-hitter Jason Michaels hit
another sacrifice fly later in the inning.

The Marlins took a 5-4 lead in the eighth when Tim Raines hit a
sacrifice fly to bring home Wilson, but Nunez could not hold the
lead.

''I tried to use my fastball but they found it,'' Nunez said.
''Give credit to the hitters.''

Both starting pitchers -- Philadelphia's Robert Person and
Florida's A.J. Burnett -- surrendered four runs in six innings, with
neither figuring into the decision.

Burnett, though, did figure into the Marlins' offense. His
second career home run gave Florida a 2-1 lead in the third inning,
and the Marlins pushed the margin to 4-1 in the fourth on a two-run
triple by Andy Fox.

Philadelphia got two runs off Burnett -- who beat Philadelphia
2-1 with a complete-game performance on June 5 -- in the fifth, then
tied the game in the sixth on Ricky Ledee's second home run of the
year.

''It was a lot of fun tonight,'' Rollins said. ''Getting down by
three runs and coming back against a guy who shut you out last
time, then getting a win at the end of the night is the ultimate
joy in this game.''

Game notes
Philadelphia's first-inning run ended Burnett's string of
consecutive shutout innings at 18 2-3, which matched his
career-high. ... Rollins, batting second in the Phillies' order for
the second time this season, walked twice against Burnett. Rollins
had drawn two walks in his previous 17 games before Tuesday. ...
Florida C Mike Redmond grounded into a fielder's choice in the
fourth inning, significant only because it was the 50,000th at-bat
in Marlins history. ... Burrell, who had one RBI in his last nine
games before Monday, now has six in his last two games. ... Burnett
threw 127 pitches, one off his season high.