Cubs
Marlins
2 - 4 Final
  for this game

Willis, Marlins slow down first-place Cubs

Sep 26, 2007 - 3:16 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- Dontrelle Willis made sure the Chicago Cubs aren't readying for the postseason just yet.

Willis tossed eight solid innings and Jeremy Hermida had three hits and two RBI as the Florida Marlins held on for a 4-2 victory over the first-place Cubs in the opener of a three-game set at Dolphin Stadium on Tuesday night.

With the loss, Chicago (83-74), is just two games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers (81-76) in the National League Central Division.

Chicago has not qualified for the postseason since 2003 when it suffered an excruciating seven-game defeat in the NL Championship Series to the eventual World Series champion Marlins. That series was marred by Cubs' fan Steve Bartman, who interfered with Chicago left fielder Moises Alou - leading to an eight-run eighth inning and an eventual loss in Game Six.

"We're not going to make any excuses. We just didn't hit," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "The innings we did get the leadoff batters on, we wind up hitting into double plays. That's the kind of night it was."

Willis (10-15), who appeared in relief in that contest, again stopped the Cubs in this one - allowing two runs and two hits. He also walked three and struck out seven, setting the club record for career strikeouts with 755 - surpassing A.J. Burnett (753).

"He had his sinker working tonight," said Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, who managed one of the three hits off Willis. "We couldn't do much of anything against him at all until Craig got that hit."

Lee Gardner recorded the first two outs of the ninth and Taylor Tankersley got Cliff Floyd - who represented the tying run as a pinch hitter for Matt Murton - to fly out to left to end the game for his first save of the season.

"We ran into a very tough pitcher," Murton said. "He really did a good job of controlling our lineup."

All the offense Willis needed came in the second inning.

Hanley Ramirez started the scoring with an RBI single off Cubs starter Ted Lilly (15-8), and Dan Uggla added a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Hermida then capped the scoring in the frame with a two-run grounds-rule double to give his team an early four-run advantage.

Willis allowed a two-run homer to Craig Monroe in eighth - one of only three hits for Chicago in the contest.

"Just getting outs quickly and keeping our defense off the field and keeping them fresh," Willis said about one of his better outings this season. "They made some big plays because they were on their toes, and I was able to throw strikes and keep the ball in play."

Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said that was the Willis of old.

"This is his (Willis') second or third outing in a row where he's thrown the ball really well," Gonzalez said. "He's got a nice little roll going here at the end of the season."

Aramis Ramirez, who was ejected in the ninth inning by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher for continuing to argue pitch location after flying out, was impressed with the way Willis battled through tough situations.

"He fell behind a lot of batters but, to his credit, he came through with the pitches he needed when he had to," Ramirez said.

Lilly also had nothing but positive things to say about Willis' performance.

"I have so much respect for Dontrelle," Lilly said. "He's had a tough year but he's such a competitor. He showed tonight what he's capable of on any given night."

Lilly yielded four runs and eight hits in five innings while striking out five and walking one for the Cubs.

"That one bad inning. That's all it takes sometimes," Lilly said. "I left it up a little bit on Hermida, and he makes me pay. That actually turned out to be the difference in the game because Craig comes back and makes it 4-2."








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

    BATTERIES: CHN - TED LILLY, MIKE WUERTZ (6TH), KEVIN HART (8TH) AND GEOVANY
    SOTO
    FLA - DONTRELLE WILLIS, LEE GARDNER (9TH), TAYLOR
    TANKERSLEY (9TH) AND MIGUEL OLIVO

    HOME RU

    Sep 25 9:28 PM


  • NL
    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CRAIG MONROE (1) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF DONTRELLE WILLIS SCORED GEOVANY SOTO.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 2, FLORIDA 4
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R THERIOT (.274, 1-FOR-2)

    Cubs vs. MarlinsSep 25 8:56 PM


  • NL
    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND RULE DOUBLE BY JEREMY HERMIDA SCORED DONTRELLE
    WILLIS AND HANLEY RAMIREZ.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, J HERMIDA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 0
    FLORIDA 4 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: M CABRERA (.322, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Cubs vs. MarlinsSep 25 7:44 PM


  • NL
    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY DAN UGGLA SCORED BRETT CARROLL.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, H RAMIREZ ON SECOND, D WILLIS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 0
    FLORIDA 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: J HERMIDA (.288, 1-FOR-1)

    Cubs vs. MarlinsSep 25 7:42 PM


  • NL
    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY HANLEY RAMIREZ SCORED TODD LINDEN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H RAMIREZ ON FIRST, D WILLIS ON SECOND, B
    CARROLL ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 0
    FLORIDA 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: D UGGLA (.248, 0-FOR-1)

    Cubs vs. MarlinsSep 25 7:40 PM