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GAME OF THE DAY

Willis Strikes Out 12 in Marlins' Victory

September 11, 2006|From the Associated Press

MIAMI — Dontrelle Willis is one of the few players in the Florida Marlins' clubhouse who knows what postseason excitement feels like.

His young teammates got a taste Sunday.

Willis threw a three-hitter and matched a career high with 12 strikeouts in his first shutout of the season, carrying Florida to a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies that split a four-game series between NL wild-card hopefuls.

Willis (10-11) retired his last 13 batters, allowed no runners past second, tied A.J. Burnett for the Marlins' career record with eight shutouts and passed Burnett as the franchise leader in complete games with 15.

"I've won big games. I've lost big games. I've been on both sides of the fence," said Willis, a rookie when the Marlins won the 2003 World Series. "I don't feel a lot of pressure. I've had a taste of both sides, so I just want to go out there, have fun and do my thing."

Wes Helms hit two sacrifice flies and Hanley Ramirez had three hits, a stolen base and a run.

Ryan Howard -- whose 56 home runs lead the majors -- had two singles for the Phillies. Howard grounded out in the seventh, the first time in 12 plate appearances that he didn't reach base.

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