The way Robert Person is pitching now, it's hard to imagine how he struggled just to stay in the majors the past few years.
Person won his fourth straight start with another dominating performance Monday night, and Kevin Jordan had three hits and drove in three runs as the Philadelphia Phillies kept pace in the NL East race with a 9-1 victory over the Florida Marlins.
"When a guy's got an arm like his, you want to be the team where it clicks," Phillies manager Terry Francona said. "So you don't want to give up on him real fast. If we end up being the team where this guy reels off a bunch of wins, good for us. We're good people."
Jordan, playing for injured third baseman Scott Rolen, needed only a homer to hit for the cycle and is batting .448 in his last seven starts. Bobby Abreu also had three hits, and Rico Brogna hit his 12th homer and drove in three runs.
Person (5-2), used mostly as a reliever in Toronto, allowed one run and seven hits in eight innings with three walks and eight strikeouts. He received an ovation from the sparse crowd after getting his first hit of the season (1-for-15) in the seventh, a blooper off left-hander Vic Darensbourg that skipped past second baseman Luis Castillo.
"I just wanted to fit in and feel wanted," said Person, traded from Toronto for Paul Spoljaric in May. "I don't know if the Blue Jays wanted me or not. It's nice to get a legitimate chance."
Brogna tied it at 1-1 with a solo homer in the second, a 417-foot blast to right off Vladimir Nunez (4-4), who lasted only 2 2-3 innings in his first major league start. The Marlins had taken a 1-0 lead on Bruce Aven's RBI single in the first. It was Aven's team-high 50th RBI in 85 games.
The Marlins, coming off a sweep of Milwakee that lifted them out of last place, suffered their major league-high 61st loss.
"It was one of those nights when you run into those kind of pitchers," Marlins first baseman Kevin Millar said.
Ron Gant led off the third with an infield single, stole second and scored on Brogna's RBI single to center. Gant then started a three-run rally in the fifth with a leadoff single to right off Archie Corbin.
Abreu doubled off the wall in left-center, putting runners on second and third. Jordan then hit a one-hop liner to center that was bobbled by Preston Wilson and ruled a triple. Jordan later scored on a wild pitch, making it 5-1.
Rolen, out with a strained lower back, could return to the lineup as early as Tuesday. Jordan is 11-for-26 (.423) with eight RBIs since replacing him in the sixth inning last Wednesday in Milwaukee, but wouldn't take the bait when asked where Rolen is going to play when he comes back.
"He's still, to me, the best third baseman in baseball," said Jordan, batting .329. "I know what my job is on this team."
Nunez allowed two runs and three hits. He struck out two, walked three, threw a wild pitch, balked and threw 63 pitches before he was taken out after striking out Mike Lieberthal.
"I think he's going to be a good one," Florida manager John Boles said of Nunez. "I like him. He's just got to work on some things."
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