CHICAGO — Dontrelle Willis was too tough for the Chicago Cubs -- on the mound and at the plate.
Willis pitched seven strong innings to become the first 11-game winner in the majors, leading the Florida Marlins to a 9-1 victory over the Cubs on Monday night.
"I'm just having fun and playing the game the way I know how to play," Willis said.
Willis gave up one run and seven hits, struck out five and walked none. He also had two hits and drove in a run in the fifth, when the Marlins broke open the game with seven runs.
"He's the stopper, the savior and everything else," Marlin Manager Jack McKeon said. "I don't care whether we start him or DH him."
Miguel Cabrera, Paul Lo Duca and Alex Gonzalez each drove in two runs for the Marlins, who won for the third time in four games after losing eight of 10. Luis Castillo hit his first homer of the season in the ninth.
Willis (11-2) won his third start in a row as the Marlins opened a 12-game, four-city trip, their longest of the season.
"It was a big game for us today, starting off the road trip," Willis said. "We came ready to play."
Willis beat the team that drafted him for the first time in four career starts. He has already surpassed his win total from last season, when he went 10-11.
John Koronka (1-2) gave up six runs and seven hits with three walks in 4 1/3 innings.
After Willis singled in the fifth, Juan Pierre beat out a double-play grounder and Castillo singled past a diving Derrek Lee at first base to put runners on first and third. Cabrera and Carlos Delgado each followed with singles for a 3-1 lead.
Barrett said Willis' leadoff single was the turning point in the game, because it brought up the speedy Pierre with a man on base.
"To be able to get some knocks and put [Koronka] in a hard situation, that's good," Willis said.
After a walk to Mike Lowell to load the bases, former closer Joe Borowski entered and gave up a pair of two-run doubles to Lo Duca and Gonzalez and a run-scoring single to Willis. Borowski was booed leaving the field after getting Pierre to bounce into a force to end the inning.
"We put together some good at-bats in that inning," Delgado said.
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Back on track
After winning 14 games and being named NL rookie of the year in 2003, Dontrelle Willis of the Florida Marlins fell to 10-11 last season. He has rebounded to become the winningest pitcher in baseball this season. His three seasons:
*--* Year IP H ERA W-L 2003 160 2/3 148 3.30 14-6 2004 197 210 4.02 10-11 2005 91 2/3 82 2.06 11-2