Nationals Chase Willis to Beat Marlins

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By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
The Associated Press
Friday, July 13, 2007; 11:36 PM

MIAMI -- Dmitri Young still looks like an All-Star. Fresh off his second appearance in the midsummer classic, Young hit a three-run double to cap Washington's six-run fourth inning, helping the Nationals beat the Florida Marlins 14-10 on Friday night.

Young drove in four runs for the Nationals, who set a season-high for runs and chased Florida starter Dontrelle Willis after 3 2-3 innings. Ronnie Belliard added three hits and Nook Logan scored four runs for Washington, which has won three straight and four of its last six.

It was Washington's highest-scoring game since the franchise moved from Montreal before the 2005 season.

"We all had big days on the same day," said Young, who has 10 RBIs in his last four games. "We don't even need that many hits most of the time."

Josh Willingham and Alfredo Amezaga each had three-run homers, and Mike Jacobs hit his sixth of the year for the Marlins.

Saul Rivera (3-2) pitched 1 2-3 innings in relief and allowed a run and three hits to pick up the win.

The offensive outburst is something the Nationals _ who came out of the break near the bottom in almost every offensive category _ found surprising.

"We're not expecting this every day," manager Manny Acta said. "You can't. It wasn't the prettiest game, but we won."

Willis (7-8) walked three and was erratic throughout, getting booed by the meager home crowd of 11,438 when he walked off after allowing eight hits and eight runs _ three earned. He's winless in his last eight starts and is 0-5 in eight starts at home since April 23.

"Just played terrible," Willis said. "Sometimes you throw the ball well and you lose. Tonight, I just played terrible."

He added that the boos didn't bother him.

"It doesn't affect me at all," Willis said. "Played bad. It is how it is."

Washington batted around in the fourth and fifth innings to make it 11-5, and Austin Kearns put it out of reach with a two-out single in the seventh that gave the Nationals a 13-9 lead.

Nationals starter Jason Bergmann lasted 4 1-3 innings, surrendering seven hits, five runs and three homers. Bergmann has never received a decision in 10 games against the Marlins.

"That's inexcusable," Bergmann said. "But there's got to be a reason why. ... It could have been the break, it could have been Friday the 13th."

Willis walked three straight batters and committed a throwing error to cap a six-run fourth inning for the Nationals. Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo also allowed two passed balls, and Young later emptied the bases with a double that made it 8-1.

Amezaga hit a three-run homer in the fourth to lead a four-run rally by Florida, and Willingham chased Bergmann with a three-run homer in the fifth. Amezaga then closed the gap to 11-9 with a two-out single later in the inning.

"It's fun when you score runs," Logan said. "The All-Star break was good for us to focus. We can just put the second half behind us now."

Notes:@ The Marlins sent LHP Erasmo Ramirez, who allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning Friday, to Triple-A Albuquerque after the game and recalled LHP Taylor Tankersley, who is expected to be in Miami in time for Saturday's game. ... Washington's previous season-high in runs was 12 against Cincinnati on May 23. ... Willis' start Friday marked the third time in Marlins history that a pitcher has started opening day and the first game after the All-Star break in the same season. Livan Hernandez started both games in 1998, and Willis did the same last year. ... Schneider suffered a right knee contusion when he took a foul ball from Willingham off his right knee in the fifth inning. Schneider limped around for a few moments, but remained in the game.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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