MIAMI (AP) – Dontrelle Willis struggled through five innings on a 92-degree afternoon, and that was enough for his 17th victory.

Willis gave up two runs but stranded four runners in scoring position and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, helping the Florida Marlins beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 Monday.

Willis (17-8) earned a share of the major-league lead in victories with St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter (17-4). Carlos Delgado went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, and Damion Easley reached base five times for the Marlins.

They went 9-4 on a two-week homestand, all against the NL West, and began the week trailing wild-card leader Philadelphia by one game. The Marlins won their fourth series in a row, taking three of four games from Los Angeles, and have won five of the past six games.

Willis, who allowed five hits and a season-high five walks, departed with a 3-2 lead after throwing 105 pitches. Florida relievers allowed one hit in four innings to complete a six-hitter.

Antonio Alfonseca went one inning, Guillermo Mota struck out five in two innings and Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 30 chances, including 18 straight.

The Marlins have allowed a total of five runs in their past seven victories.

Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy held a team meeting before the game to stress that the Dodgers remain in the NL West race, even though they’re 12 games below .500. They began the week five games behind division leader San Diego.

Dodgers rookie Edwin Jackson (0-1), making his first appearance of the season, gave up five walks and five hits in 4 2-3 innings but left trailing only 3-2. He was recalled from Double-A Jacksonville to take injured left-hander Odalis Perez’s turn in the rotation.

Los Angeles led 2-1 when third baseman Antonio Perez lost Delgado’s foul popup in the sun and let it drop leading off the fourth. Granted a reprieve, Delgado singled. Jeff Conine also singled, and Alex Gonzalez’s RBI double made the score 2-all. A walk loaded the bases, and Willis’ sacrifice fly to the warning track in left put Florida ahead to stay.

Jackson needed 24 pitches to retire a batter. He gave up a single and a walk in the first, then got a strikeout-caught stealing double play. Delgado’s two-out RBI single put Florida ahead.

The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the second on RBI singles by Jose Cruz and Dioner Navarro.

That was as many runs as Willis allowed in his previous 38 innings.

Florida scored in the seventh on singles by Easley, Miguel Cabrera and Delgado. Cabrera’s bases-loaded RBI groundout in the eighth made it 5-2. Easley also had three walks and was hit by a pitch.

The Dodgers completed a 3-4 trip. In the past eight games they’ve faced Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, A.J. Burnett and Willis.

Notes: Dodgers CF Milton Bradley grounded into a double play to end the first inning, then left the game with an irritated patella tendon in his left knee. … SS Gonzalez argued when called out on strikes to end the seventh and was ejected by umpire Angel Hernandez. That forced the Marlins to play Luis Castillo, who had missed five consecutive games with a strained left quadriceps. … Florida scored first for the 28th time in the past 33 games. … Willis beat Jackson on May 3, 2003 when both pitched in the Double-A Southern League. Willis’ next game was for the Marlins, and he went on to become NL rookie of the year.


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