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Posted at 03:14 PM ET, 04/16/2011

Leading off: Marlins look to tie Phillies atop NL East

Game of the day: Florida at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m. The top two teams in the National League East square off in a matchup of pitchers with electric, if inconsistent stuff. Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez (0-1) has just a 31-30 career record, but can be dominant when he is on his game. Sanchez went 13-12 in the first injury-free season of his career, and will look to bounce back from a rough outing his last time out against Houston (4.2 innings, 6 runs, 13 hits). Cole Hamels (1-1) is scheduled to start for Philadelphia, and Hamels can also be dominant when he’s at his best. Hamels pitched 7.0 shutout innings against Atlanta in his last start.

Other games to watch

New York Mets at Atlanta, 4:10 p.m. These National League East teams have struggled mightily so far this season, and both teams need Saturday’s starting pitchers to start producing to help them turn things around. Mets starter Mike Pelfrey (0-1) has been dismal in his first three starts this season. Pelfrey has a 10.80 ERA and the Mets have lost all three games he has started. Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens will make his season debut after starting the year on the disabled list because of a strained right oblique muscle. Jurrjens is 7-2 with a 2.81 career ERA against the Braves.

St. Louis at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. The Dodgers haven’t been very good since they started the year 3-1, but left-hander Clayton Kershaw (2-1) has been their best starter. Kershaw didn’t allow a run in two of his first three starts this year, and he will look to slow down a resurgent Cardinals offense Saturday. The Cardinals scored eight or more runs in five straight, including 11 runs on Friday, and first baseman Albert Pujols seems to be breaking out of his early funk. Right-hander Kyle McClellan (1-0) is scheduled to start for St. Louis, continuing his first season as a starter after spending the first three years of his career in the bullpen. McClellan has a 2.25 ERA through his first two starts.

Games you should have seen

Marlins 4, Phillies 3: Former Phillie Greg Dobbs came through with a pinch-hit, two-run single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning as the Marlins (8-5) rallied past the Phillies (9-4) to pull within a game of the NL East leaders. Dobbs hit .301 as a bench player on the 2008 world champion Phillies team, but hit only .196 last season before leaving Philadelphia to sign with Florida. He’s off to an 8-for-18 (.444) start this year, including 3 for 6 as a pinch hitter. Roy Oswalt pitched six solid innings for the Phillies before leaving with a back strain. “It’s not to the point where it’s unbearable,” Oswalt said. “It’s a muscle spasm.” He hopes to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday.

Nationals 4, Brewers 3: Jayson Werth reached on a throwing error by Brewers’ shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, kept running to second after the ball eluded first baseman Prince Fielder and stole third without a throw before scoring on an infield bouncer by Adam LaRoche in the 10th inning to give the Nationals (6-7) the win. The ending wasn’t the only strange thing about this game for the Nats: None of their runs came on a base hit and they won despite getting just five hits. The Brewers fell to 7-6.

Royals 6, Mariners 5: Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar gave up a double to Ichiro Suzuki to lead off the game and then held the Mariners hitless for the next seven innings. After walking Luis Rodriguez with two outs in the second, Hochevar retired 16 straight before leaving after the seventh inning with a 6-1 lead. The Mariners (4-10) rallied to nearly tie the game with a run in the eighth and three runs in the ninth, before closer Joakim Soria finally managed to get Chone Figgins to line out, ending the game. The Royals improved to 9-4 and a re tied with Cleveland for first place in the AL Central.

Stat you should know

1,500: Jim Leyland became the 19th major league manager to win 1,500 career games as the Tigers defeated the A’s 7-3 on Friday. He was given five new cigars and a bottle of champagne from his GM and coaching staff after the win. But Leyland stuck with his usual postgame cigarettes. “I’m just getting old, that’s probably what that means,” Leyland said.

Chatter

“I think it eases everybody’s mind knowing he’s got a viral infection, flu-bug thing, and we all know how you feel when you get that stuff. Probably got him feeling worse than he probably really is.” - Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire on catcher Joe Mauer, who was placed on the 15-day DL.

By Greg Schimmel  |  03:14 PM ET, 04/16/2011

 
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