Friday, September 11, 2009
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[September 11, 2009]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Florida starter Sean West was in the training room with several Marlins executives watching the Philadelphia Phillies mount a nail-biting ninth-inning rally that fell just short.

On the field, his teammates were finishing off a 13-4 victory over the New York Mets on Thursday night that helped the Marlins gain ground on the NL East-leading Phillies.

Everything is going right for the upstart Marlins.

"It's a blast," said West, who allowed four runs and six hits in four-plus innings. "We're just winning ballgames right now and doing what we do best. ... We're going to try to take this division. See what happens."

Nick Johnson had a pair of two-run singles, and Hanley Ramirez and Cody Ross each had three hits and two RBIs for the Marlins, who completed their first sweep of the Mets since taking four straight Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2004, in New York. Dan Uggla hit his 27th homer in the third inning.


Florida has enjoyed its last few September trips to New York. Spoilers in 2007 and '08, the Marlins twice dashed the Mets' playoff hopes on the last day with victories. This year they came to the Big Apple with postseason aspirations of their own.

The Marlins wrapped up a 5-1 trip and moved within five games of Philadelphia, which lost 8-7 at Washington. They also remained 5 1/2 back of the wild card-leading Rockies with 22 games remaining, including six against the Phillies.

"Everybody's together right now," Ramirez said. "Everybody is doing the little things."

The Mets (62-78) fell 16 games under .500 for the first time since finishing 71-91 in 2004.

Bobby Parnell (3-8) walked consecutive batters with the bases loaded after an error by shortstop Anderson Hernandez, and Angel Pagan forgot how many outs there were while running the bases. Luis Castillo had another adventure at second base and New York pitchers didn't have a 1-2-3 inning until the ninth.

The Mets held a 30-minute meeting following batting practice then fell behind quickly. The Marlins led 3-0 by the time the 19-minute, 40-pitch first inning was over.

"Every time I have a meeting we seem to play that way so I guess we won't have anymore meetings," Manuel said.

Rockies 5, Reds 1

At Denver, Garrett Atkins hit a two-run homer and the Rockies won their seventh straight to increase their NL wild card cushion to 4 1/2 games over idle San Francisco.

The Rockies finished off a 9-1 homestand to creep within two games of first-place Los Angeles in the NL West.

Juan Rincon (3-2) pitched three effective frames, striking out five to earn the win.

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Braves 9, Astros 7

At Houston, Garret Anderson drove in three runs, Nate McLouth homered and Brian McCann had four hits and two RBIs for the Braves.

Derek Lowe (14-9) allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, but managed to win for the second time in five starts. Mike Gonzalez earned his 10th save.

Lance Berkman hit a three-run homer for the Astros.

Nationals 8, Phillies 7

At Washington, Ian Desmond homered and drove in four runs in his major league debut, and Livan Hernandez pitched effectively into the eighth inning for the Nationals.

Adam Dunn hit his 36th homer for the Nationals, who gave up five runs in the ninth before Ron Villone got Ryan Howard to ground into a game-ending double play with runners at the corners. Moments earlier, Matt Stairs snapped an 0-for-30 skid with a pinch-hit grand slam.

[Associated Press; By HOWIE RUMBERG]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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