Cantu’s 5 RBIs help Marlins down Dodgers

AP Sports Writer

MIAMI (AP) The Florida Marlins followed a familiar formula, mounting a comeback capped by Jorge Cantu.

For the second game in a row Sunday, Cantu helped Florida rally past the Los Angeles Dodgers. He tied a career high with five RBIs and the Marlins won 6-5 in the rubber game of a three-game series.

Florida trailed 4-0 before Cantu hit a three-run homer in the fourth. He put the Marlins ahead 6-5 with a two-run double in the seventh.

“We’re the kings of drama,” Cantu said. “Everybody here is used to that.”

Cantu’s sacrifice fly capped a three-run rally in the ninth inning Saturday, when Florida beat Los Angeles 7-6.

“Two out of three the easy way,” team owner Jeffrey Loria joked.

Since Fredi Gonzalez became manager in 2007, the Marlins have 128 come-from-behind wins, fourth-most in the majors.

“These guys battle,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just the makeup of the team – we don’t give up.”

Two late comeback bids by the Dodgers fell short. Clay Hensley retired pinch-hitter Andre Ethier with runners at the corners to end the eighth. Leo Nunez gave up a walk and a single in the ninth, then struck out Matt Kemp and retired James Loney on a groundout for his second save in three tries.

Florida won with just five hits. Los Angeles had 11 hits but went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

“It’s frustrating when you get guys on base and you can’t get them in,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “The players are far more frustrated than I am.”

The Dodgers went 2-4 on their season-opening trip and play their home opener Tuesday against Arizona.

The Marlins have gone 2-1 in each of their first two series, thanks in large part to Cantu. Florida’s cleanup hitter is batting .320 with 10 RBIs. He has at least one RBI and hit in every game.

“I’m trying not to do too much,” he said. “I’m seeing the ball very well.”

Dodgers knuckleballer Charlie Haeger had a career-high 12 strikeouts in six innings and allowed only three hits, but one was Cantu’s homer. Haeger walked four, and two other Marlins reached base when strike three was a wild pitch.

Jeff Weaver (0-1) gave up a run for the first time in five appearances this season. Chris Coghlan singled off him to start the seventh, and after Hanley Ramirez walked, Cantu doubled.

“Hitting behind Hanley, Cantu is going to get a lot of opportunities,” Gonzalez said. “And he always seems to come through.”

A dropped fly by Kemp in center field led to an unearned run in the sixth, which scored on Cody Ross’ two-out single.

“When it it’s the glove, you’ve got to catch it,” Kemp said. “That was a bad time to make an error.”

Hensley (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for his first win since July 21, 2008. Florida’s Anibal Sanchez made his first start of the season and allowed five runs, four earned, in six innings.

The Marlins won despite some sloppy moments. They came into the game last in the majors in fielding and committed two errors to increase their season total to 10.

Florida center fielder Cameron Maybin was picked off first and had a two-base error that let two runs score, and right fielder Ross dropped a fly for an error that led to another run.

“It was ugly at times,” Ross said. “Good teams overcome that, but we can’t keep playing like this, or it’s not going to be good in the long term.”

Haeger struck out seven of the first 10 batters, but he walked Maybin and Ramirez to start the fourth, and Cantu hit his second homer of the year to cut the Dodgers’ lead to 4-3.

“The pitch that Cantu hit was a good knuckleball,” Haeger said. “He’s a good hitter. Obviously that was a turning point.”

NOTES: Ethier (ankle) missed his fourth consecutive start. He’s expected to rejoin the lineup for the team’s home opener Tuesday against Arizona. … Dodgers LF Manny Ramirez, 3B Casey Blake and C Russell Martin also were given the day off, although Martin entered the game in the eighth. … Marlins president David Samson says the team will play more day games in the new ballpark scheduled to open in 2012. … Sanchez ended an 0-for-43 slump when he singled for his first hit since April 27, 2007.

Updated April 11, 2010