Phillies manager Terry Francona is never afraid to use a little unorthodox strategy, so here's an idea: Let Randy Wolf skip the first inning and just start with the second.
Wolf was roughed up in the first inning for his fourth straight start Tuesday night as the Florida Marlins scored six runs in the first to beat Philadelphia 6-2 and end their six-game losing streak against the Phillies.
"Obviously, there's something going on in the first inning," said Wolf, who lost his second straight start after winning his first five big league decisions. "Usually, that's the only inning when I struggle."
In fact, 12 of the 15 earned runs Wolf has allowed in his last four starts have come in the first inning an ERA of 27.00.
"I'd like to not make a big deal out of it, and hopefully it will go away," Francona said. "I feel pretty good about this kid. He's got a pretty good head on his shoulders to go along with his arm."
Danny Bautista, a late replacement for Preston Wilson in the lineup, had two hits including a key two-run single in Wolf's disastrous first. Alex Fernandez (5-6) won for the first time in three starts, and the Marlins beat the Phillies for the first time since their first meeting on April 9.
"It's nice to be lucky once in a while," said Fernandez, who got some rare run support and had two of the Marlins' 12 hits.
Wolf (5-2) settled down after the rocky, 44-pitch first inning in which eight straight batters reached. He allowed six runs and 10 hits in five innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
"His location was the worst I've seen him," said catcher Mike Lieberthal, who hit his 19th homer leading off the seventh against Fernandez. "He couldn't throw his changeup, he couldn't throw his curveball and his fastball was on either side of the plate."
Jesus Sanchez struck out Rob Ducey with two runners on in the ninth and Antonio Alfonseca got the last out for his seventh save in nine chances. The Marlins failed to score again after the first against Wolf and relievers Scot Aldred and Amaury Telemaco.
"I was a little miffed at that," Marlins manager John Boles said. "We had chances."
Fernandez gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings with a season-high four walks and no strikeouts.
"He looked like he was throwing about 85 mph," Francona said. "But he knows how to pitch."
Wolf, a 22-year-old left-hander, retired leadoff batter Luis Castillo before the next six batters reached base and scored.
Alex Gonzalez walked, Bruce Aven singled and Kevin Millar hit an RBI single. Mark Kotsay singled to load the bases, and Aven scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0 with runners at second and third.
Bautista's single to center scored Millar and Kotsay, and Wolf walked Mike Lowell and Mike Redmond to load the bases. Fernandez's infield single to second made it 5-0, and Lowell scored on Castillo's RBI groundout.
The Phillies got a run in the fourth on Marlon Anderson's RBI groundout.
The same inning, the Phillies had a potentially big inning defused when Scott Rolen singled and was called out on a botched force play when he slid past the bag apparently without touching it.
Second baseman Dave Berg, just into the game, fielded Rico Brogna's grounder and flipped to second. Shortstop Gonzalez dropped the ball, but Rolen was called out by umpire Paul Schrieber when Berg picked up the ball and stepped on the bag.
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