Conine and Pierre Get Revenge On Phils In 11-4 Win

If keeping Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo off base was a key in winning Tuesday night's game, letting them get on base was the Phillies undoing in Wednesday night's game. Add to that a big night for Jeff Conine and the Marlins offense found a recipe for success, leading Florida to an 11-4 win over the Phillies.

Jeff Conine is making Jack McKeon look like a genius. Adapting to his new spot in the batting order, Conine homered, drove in three runs and made two dazzling defensive plays as the Florida Marlins routed the Philadelphia Phillies, 11-4, extending their lead in the National League wild card race.

Hitting just .178 (8-for-45) in the cleanup spot since being acquired from Baltimore on August 31, Conine was dropped to sixth by McKeon for the Marlins' showdown with the Phillies. After going 1-for-4 in Tuesday's series opener, Conine made his presence felt in this one, stroking a two-run double in the first inning and a solo homer in the fourth.

A member of Florida's world championship team in 1997, Conine also contributed on defense. With Jim Thome representing the tying run in the fifth, he raced back to the wall and made a leaping catch to deny an extra-base hit.

"Conine had a good night," Phillies manager Larry Bowa conceded. "He got the big hit and made a big play on Thome's ball."

In the sixth, Conine caught pinch hitter Ricky Ledee's fly ball and fired a one-hop bullet to the plate, nailing Jimmy Rollins and keeping Florida ahead by a 6-4 margin.

Juan Pierre, who was held hitless in the series opener, added four hits and a career-high four RBI for the Marlins, who extended their lead over the Phillies for the NL wild card to 1 1/2 games and won for the ninth time in the last 10 meetings.

Redman (13-9) got the win, despite allowing four runs and five hits in five innings. The lefthander, who walked five and struck out six, improved to 3-0 lifetime vs. the Phillies.

Brett Myers (14-8) suffered his first home loss since June 6, surrendering six runs and seven hits in just four innings. He walked two, struck out six and had a three-game winning streak stopped. Myers' troubles began immediately as Pierre led off the game with a single and stole second. Luis Castillo struck out, but Ivan Rodriguez walked and Derrek Lee followed with a double to left field, giving the Marlins a 1-0 lead. After Juan Encarnacion lined out, Conine ripped a shot past first baseman Thome and into the right field corner to make it 3-0.

The Phillies answered in the third when Mike Lieberthal drove in Placido Polanco with a two-out double and Thome belted a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for his 42nd homer, putting him one behind Chuck Klein for the Phillies' all-time single-season record for lefthanded hitters.

Myers gave back the runs in the next inning. With one out, Conine belted his second homer since his return to the Marlins for a 4-3 lead. Miguel Cabrera and Alex Gonzalez singled and after a sacrifice by Redman, Pat Burrell came up short on a diving attempt at Pierre's blooper, allowing two runs to score.

"I made a mistake to Conine and that hurt me," Myers said. "In the fourth inning, some of my stuff was flat. We controlled them last night, but tonight was a different story."

Marlon Byrd drew the Phillies within 6-4 with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, but with the tying run on second and two outs, Redman struck out Bobby Abreu.

Philadelphia squandered a golden opportunity against Chad Fox in the sixth. Rollins led off with a double and moved to third on Tomas Perez's bunt single. Ledee lifted a fly ball to shallow left and third base coach John Vukovich sent Rollins home, where Rodriguez was waiting to apply the tag.

"It's always easy to second-guess," Bowa said. "Vuke's done a great job all year."

Rodriguez's run-scoring single in the eighth opened some breathing room before Florida put away the game with four in the ninth. A throwing error by reliever Valerio De Los Santos with none out allowed Encarnacion to score before Pierre plated two with a double to left-center. Castillo added an RBI single.

After going hitless in eight at-bats Tuesday, Pierre and Castillo combined to go 7-for-11 with five RBI and three runs scored. Pierre raised his average against the Phillies to .400 (24-for-60) this season.

"The big difference tonight was their top of the order," Bowa said. "You've got to keep them off base. When they get on, they create a lot of problems."


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