Speed Helps Marlins Run Off With 7-3 Win

Let the debate begin; Is it bad baseball etiquette to steal bases up by five runs? The Marlins don't think so as they looked to literally run up the score and extended their Major League lead in the stolen base category in Thursday's series finale. It led to a quick exit for Kevin Millwood (2-1), but some bright signs out of the Phillies bullpen.

Kevnin Millwood never looked comfortable on the Veterans Stadium mound Thursday. Maybe, it was the weather - 43 degrees with a brisk wind - or maybe it was lamenting that he won't get to pitch against his old teammates in Atlanta this weekend, but the ace of the Phillies starting rotation never showed his face.

It started early when Luis Castillo singled and stole the first of three bases in the first inning. Millwood seemed unnerved enough already and issued a walk to Ivan Rodriguez. Mike Lowell came up and deposited a triple to right and quickly, the Marlins were up 2-0. Millwood made it through the next couple of innings and seemed to be toughing it out when suddenly, everything fell apart.

Todd Hollandsworth opened the fourth inning with a walk and promptly stole second. Mike Mordecai hit a sharp grounder to Tomas Perez at second who thought he could help Millwood out with a big play and attempted to throw Hollandsworth out at third. Perez' throw bounced near the bag and Hollandsworth slid in under David Bell's tag, putting runners at the corners with one out. After Carl Pavano (2-2) sacrificed Mordecai to second, it looked like Millwood had struck out Juan Pierre, but the two strike pitch was called a ball and Pierre used his new life to triple, driving in two runs. Castillo then singled to make it 5-0 Marlins and angered the crowd and some of the Phillies by stealing second and not even bothering to slide. Rodriguez again walked and he and Castillo promptly executed a double steal before Lowell doubled to drive home both runners and put the Marlins up 7-0.

Todd Pratt tripled to drive in two runs in the seventh and Ricky Ledee hit a solo homerun in the ninth to make the final 7-3.

If there was a bright side, it was the bullpen. Rheal Cormier pitched two and one-third innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five. Eric Junge, just recalled from Scranton when Hector Mercado went on the DL, followed with two shutout innings and Carlos Silva allowed just a walk in the ninth.

The Phillies move to Atlanta for a three-game series against the Braves starting Friday night. Millwood, missed his first chance to pitch against his old teammates earlier in the season when he was recovering from a strained groin muscle and will miss working against Atlanta on this trip as well.

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