<
>

D-Train powers Marlins past Nats on mound, at bat

MIAMI (AP) -- Dontrelle Willis got his first win of the season in
his worst outing.

Willis overcame a two-run first inning and also drove in a run
with a bunt to help the Florida Marlins beat the Washington
Nationals 5-3 on Friday night.

Josh Willingham homered, Chris Aguila had a two-run double and
Miguel Cabrera an RBI single for the Marlins, who have won
consecutive games for the first time under new manager Joe Girardi.

"The resilience of the team showed tonight," Willis said. "We
could have packed it in early, especially the way they were hitting
the ball. We didn't. We kept the game close."

Willis (1-0), 22-10 last year, had no-decisions and received
little offensive support in his first two starts. He improved his
career April record to 9-0 despite giving up three runs (two
earned), eight hits, two walks and three hit batters in 5 2-3
innings.

"When he's trying to put guys away, he's going to throw some
back-foot sliders," Girardi said. "Tonight he hit a couple of
back feet."

Joe Borowski worked the ninth for his first save.

Ryan Drese (0-2) left because of a sore right elbow with two
outs and two on in the fifth. The Nationals plan to place Drese on
the 15-day disabled list Saturday.

"It makes it very difficult because we're not real deep in the
first place," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "It's not
easy to lose front-line people. We can't afford it."

Drese was charged with four runs, four hits and four walks.

"I felt good all night, but those two last pitches, something
happened," Drese said. "It was pretty painful -- I've never felt
anything like this before, so I don't know how to describe it."

Ryan Zimmerman and Matthew LeCroy had RBI singles in the first
to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead. Willis threw 29 pitches and
surrendered four hits in the first.

"They did a great job of making me throw some pitches early,"
Willis said. "After they scored their first two runs, I just
wanted to keep it close and not turn into a five- or six-run
inning."

Florida scored its first run in the third. Miguel Olivo led off
with a double, and took third on Eric Reed's bunt single. Olivo
scored on Willis' safety squeeze bunt.

"I finally got a bunt down -- I can't remember the last time I
did that," said Willis, a good hitting pitcher who batted as high
as seventh last season under former manager Jack McKeon said.

Aguila's two-out, two-run double in the fourth gave Florida a
3-2 lead.

"We want every pitcher on our staff to know we're going to
battle for them," Aguila said. "Dontrelle worked his butt off,
and once he came out of the game, it was our job to keep that lead
and keep working hard for him."

Cabrera's two-out single in the fifth scored Hanley Ramirez to
give the Marlins a 4-2 lead.

Willingham led off the bottom of the eighth with his third home
run of the season.

Not only did the Nationals' poor start continue, Washington had
three players get injured -- Drese, Jose Guillen (strained left
oblique in batting practice) and Jose Vidro (tight left hamstring
in the sixth).

"We didn't expect to be 2-9, nothing is going our way," Vidro
said. "The energy is there. Guys are relaxed. Guys are playing
hard, for some reason we're not getting wins."

Ramirez went 0-for-3 with a walk, snapping an eight-game hitting
streak.

Game notes
Florida announced it had returned Rule 5 draft pick LHP
Mike Megrew to the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... LeCroy made his second
start this season and first behind the plate. ... Florida's Jeremy
Hermida (right hip flexor strain) was not in the lineup for a third
straight game but took batting practice ... Retired boxer Roberto
Duran threw the ceremonial first pitch. ... The announced crowd was
12,913.