for this game

Willingham continues sparkling May with game-winning hit

May 17, 2007 - 3:34 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Josh Willingham's May just keeps getting better.

Willingham singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the Florida Marlins posted a 4-3 comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third of a four-game set.

The Marlins' left fielder entered the game hitting just .243 (13-for-53) this month, but had driven in 11 runs.

Willingham hit a walk-off homer against the Los Angeles Dodgers last Thursday, had a game-tying eighth-inning homer May 4 against the San Diego Padres and set a career high with five RBI on May 1 at the New York Mets. He entered the contest batting .419 (18-for-43) with runners in scoring position.

"It's just one of those things where I have been fortunate to come up with some runners in scoring position and put some good at-bats together," Willingham said. "Sometimes you can hit it hard right at somebody, but I have been able to find some holes, so it's been fun."

With the Marlins trailing, 3-2, in the decisive frame, Hanley Ramirez lined a hard one-out single past second base against Matt Capps (2-1), and the speedster scored easily when Miguel Cabrera served a looping fly ball into right-center field for a double. Willingham then followed by bouncing a double off the left field wall for a 4-3 lead.

"It's always good to get a win late when you have to come back and score a couple runs to get a win," Willingham said. "Especially against the back end of that bullpen. It's been good all year with Capps and (Salomon) Torres, so that makes it even better."

Cabrera, who got Tuesday off after starting the road trip 0-for-13, finished with two hits.

"Everybody's swinging the bats well here these past couple days," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Hopefully we can keep it going.

"(Cabrera) had a real nice night at the plate. Everybody, even the best hitter in the world, will go 0-for-15 or 1-for-20 at some point during a 162-game season. He got through it and at the end of the year, he will have his normal numbers.

The Marlins' comeback ruined a fine outing by Pirates starter Zach Duke and some nice hitting by Adam LaRoche, who posted his second three-hit game in what has been a disappointing campaign thus far.

Duke yielded two runs and eight hits in seven innings to remain winless since beating Cincinnati on April 8. LaRoche belted his fourth homer in the second, singled in a second run in the fourth for a 2-1 edge and singled during the seventh frame when the Pirates took a 3-2 edge but failed to capitalize.

"I struggled with my control early on a little bit, but I felt I settled in pretty well as the game went on and used their aggressiveness against them later on," Duke said. "I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out."

Xavier Nady opened the seventh by lining a single off the right heel of Marlins starter Scott Olsen, who took about five minutes to recover before staying in the game.

"The starting pitcher's job is to go out there and keep the team in the game and hope for the best in the end," said Olsen, adding he expects to be fine for his next start. "That's what happened. We won the game, that's the most important thing, so everybody should feel pretty happy about themselves."

LaRoche then singled to right field, moving Nady up one base. After Ronny Paulino failed to advance the runners, Jose Castillo lined a hard line drive off the second base bag, plating Nady for a 3-2 lead.

Taylor Tankersley (3-1) replaced Olsen and retired pinch hitter Jose Bautista and Chris Duffy to escape further damage.

Olsen, who was charged with three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, has just one win in his last seven starts after winning his first two of the season.

Matt Lindstrom worked around a two-out single by Jason Bay in the eighth and Kevin Gregg worked around a two-out error in the ninth for his second save.

After being acquired from the Atlanta Braves for closer Mike Gonzalez in the offseason, LaRoche hit just .133 in April. But the lefthanded hitter has picked it up in May.

After going 2-for-4 with a double in Tuesday's loss, he raised his average in May to .318 (14-for-43). His average for the season is up to .197, the highest it has been as a Pirate.

"He had good at-bats tonight. He swung the bat very well tonight," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "What we saw tonight is what I saw an awful lot of Adam LaRoche over the last couple years when he did significant damage."

Slow starts are not unusual for LaRoche, who hit .200 last April but rebounded by hitting .275 in May.

"I'm just getting into good counts more often," LaRoche said. "When you do that, you can look for something to drive instead of being 0-2, 1-2 every single time like I have been. You get in those situations, it's hard to let it go, its hard to really look to drive something."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    FLORIDA 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 4 11 1
    PITTSBURGH 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 3 6 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: FLA - SCOTT OLSEN, TAYLOR TANKERSLEY (7TH), MATT LINDSTROM (8TH),
    KEVIN GREGG (9TH) AND MIGUEL OLIVO
    PIT - ZACH DUKE, MATT CAPPS (8TH), SALOMON TORRES (9TH)
    AND RO

    May 16 9:46 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots

    Marlins vs. PiratesMay 16 9:28 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOSH WILLINGHAM SCORED MIGUEL CABRERA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J WILLINGHAM ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 4
    PITTSBURGH 3 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: J HERMIDA (.444, 2-FOR-3)

    Marlins vs. PiratesMay 16 9:11 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MIGUEL CABRERA SCORED HANLEY RAMIREZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M CABRERA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 3
    PITTSBURGH 3 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: J WILLINGHAM (.281, 1-FOR-3)

    Marlins vs. PiratesMay 16 9:09 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSE CASTILLO SCORED XAVIER NADY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J CASTILLO ON FIRST, A LAROCHE ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 2
    PITTSBURGH 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: Z DUKE (.125, 0-FOR-2)

    Marlins vs. PiratesMay 16 8:53 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ADAM LAROCHE SCORED JACK WILSON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A LAROCHE ON FIRST, J BAY ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 2
    PITTSBURGH 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R PAULINO (.230, 0-FOR-1)

    Marlins vs. PiratesMay 16 8:14 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MIGUEL CABRERA SCORED REGGIE ABERCROMBIE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M CABRERA ON SECOND, D UGGLA ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 2
    PITTSBURGH 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: J WILLINGHAM (.285, 1-FOR-1)

    Marlins vs. PiratesMay 16 7:44 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ADAM LAROCHE (4) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF SCOTT OLSEN.
    CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 1, PITTSBURGH 1
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R PAULINO (.232, 4 HR, 14 RBI)

    Marlins vs. PiratesMay 16 7:31 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    FLORIDA 1 1 2 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: FLA - SCOTT OLSEN
    PIT - ZACH DUKE

    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: C DUFFY (.239, 2 HR, 12 RBI)
    J WILSON (.273, 1 HR, 9 RBI)
    F SANCHEZ (.275, 0 HR, 9 RBI)

    Marlins vs. PiratesMay 16 7:12 PM