Jackson, Dodgers Melt in Florida Heat

MIAMI, Florida-- The snowbirds know when to go home; others don't have that option. A couple of youngsters, Edwin Jackson of Los Angeles and the Marlins Dontrell Willis sweltered in 200-degree heat and humidity -- divided bout half and half -- Monday afternoon with Willis gaining a 5-2 advantage although neither of them could survive beyond the fifth inning.

Both had control problems but Willis had an edge in experience and he collected a 5-2 victory, his 17th of the season. With one more victory, he'll tie the team record of 18 wins set by Carl Pavano last year.

Jackson was making his first major league start of 2005, filling in for injured Odalis Perez who was placed on the disabled list just before the game.

Perez was injured warming up before a game in Atlanta and was tagged with the 10-2 loss.

Jackson (0-1), making his first appearance of the season with the Dodgers, gave up five walks and five hits in 4 2-3 innings but left trailing only 3-2. While Willis was helped by four shutout innings from his bullpen, Elmer Dessens and Giovanni Carrara each allowed a run in their turn.

Florida relievers allowed only one baserunner in four innings. Former Dodgers Guillermo Mota struck out five in two perfect innings and Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 30 chances, including 18 straight. Marlins' pitching has been sensational lately, allowing a total of five runs in their past seven victories.

However, the Dodgers could only bag six hits for the third time in the four game series, and it was no anomaly that they lost all three of the games, while scoring just five runs.

Los Angeles chances were lessened when their hottest hitter, Milton Bradley, left the game after his time at bat in the first inning with an irritated patella tendon in his left knee. His status is day to day.

Despite that the Dodgers overcame a first inning run and took a 2-1 lead in the second inning when Jeff Kent singled and Olmedo Saenz walked. With one out, Jose Cruz grounded an RBI single into center to score Kent. Dioner Navarro singled home Saenz but Cruz was cut down attempting to go from first to third on the hit.

The two runs were as many runs as Willis had allowed in his previous 38 innings.

The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the fourth after Saenz walked and Cruz slugged a double with two out. Navarro was walked intentional, his first in The Show, but Jackson popped out.

That not only ended that attempted rally, it ended the Dodgers offensive efforts, save a leadoff double in the fifth by Cesar Izturis, breaking an 0-for-21 skid, and a one out double in the ninth by pinch-hitting Oscar Robles.

In amongst those hits, 16 Dodges bit the dust.

The Marlins caught Jackson on a wild afternoon. He had walked just over three per game while splitting time with Las Vegas and Jacksonville, but he walked five before leaving the game after 107 pitches with two out in the fifth.

He allowed a pair of singles and a walk in a 34-pitch first inning that scored a run. In the fourth he served up a pair of singles -- one coming with Los Angeles leading 2-1. Third baseman Antonio Perez lost Carlos Delgado's foul popup in the sun and let it drop leading off the fourth. Granted a reprieve, Delgado singled. Two runs scored after the mishap. Jackson had walked two in the fifth before Yhency Brazoban came in to get the final out of the inning.

Dessens allowed four hits in two innings, good for the fourth Marlin run, and Carrara had a wild streak in the eighth, hitting two and walking two, allowing a run without giving up a hit.

The Dodgers completed a tough 3-4 road trip. In their last eight games they've faced five of the best in the National League: Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, A.J. Burnett and Willis.

Dodger Blue Notes-- RHP Jonathan Broxton was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville and RHP Franquelis Osoria will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Willis beat Jackson on May 3, 2003 when both pitched in the Double-A Southern League. Willis' next game was for the Marlins, and he went on to become NL rookie of the year. …Former Dodger minor league ace Andrew Brown was called up by Cleveland. Brown was traded by the Dodgers along with outfielder Franklin Gutierrez for Bradley in April 2004. Brown was 4-2 with a 3.57 ERA as a reliever in Triple-A. …Manager Jim Tracy held a 40-minute team meeting before Monday's getaway game with the Marlins. The Dodgers entered Monday's game five games behind first-place San Diego and one back of second-place Arizona, with 39 games to go but slipped 13-games below .500 with the loss. …Brad Penny expected to have the appeal of his five-game suspension heard Monday, but found out that it was cancelled in a last-minute phone call. …Jeff Weaver (11-8, 4.52 ERA) opens the homestand Tuesday night against Colorado.

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