- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2009

MIAMI (AP) - The scene keeps repeating in the first week of the season: Emilio Bonifacio sprinting around third base to score.

His latest run gave the unbeaten Florida Marlins their latest win.

Jorge Cantu singled with two out in the ninth to bring Bonifacio home from second base Friday, and the Marlins remained unbeaten through four games by defeating the New York Mets 5-4.

“Bonifacio is creating all kinds of opportunities,” Cantu said. “It’s unbelievable. He has tremendous speed, and we’re blessed to have him.”

Acquired in November from Washington, Bonifacio went 3-for-5 for his fourth consecutive multi-hit game, hiking his average to .579 (11-for-19). He scored three times and has nine runs this season.

“If he doesn’t get better, we’re going to send him to Albuquerque,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, smiling at his facetious threat.

The Marlins’ new leadoff hitter is a big reason they’re the only unbeaten team in the majors and 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. Other key contributors include Hanley Ramirez (.500, eight RBIs) and Cantu (.429). The team average is .309.

“When it comes time to do the job, we’ve been doing it,” Ramirez said.

Bonifacio is helping most of all. After New York tied the game in the top of the ninth, he reached on an infield single off Pedro Feliciano (0-1) with one out. Darren O’Day walked Ramirez, and Cantu singled to left on an 0-1 pitch, bringing Bonifacio around.

O’Day was a minor-league teammate last year of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, who died early Thursday in a car crash.

“It hasn’t been a normal week for sure,” O’Day said. “But when I went out there I was focused on one thing _ doing my job.”

Said Mets manager Jerry Manuel: “You just don’t know how a person is going to grieve. I don’t know if it has affected him or not.”

Bonifacio’s speed helped give Florida a 4-3 lead. He reached on a two-out bunt single in the seventh against Bobby Parnell, went to third on a bloop single by John Baker and came home on Ramirez’s single.

The Mets scored once in the ninth off closer Matt Lindstrom (1-0) to tie the game. Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church singled, and pinch hitter Jeremy Reed hit a two-out RBI single, but pinch hitter Alex Cora grounded out to end the inning.

The Mets left 14 runners on base, stranding at least one in every inning.

“A couple of hits here and there, and we could have broken it open,” Manuel said.

The loss was the first for the Mets’ bullpen after the front office invested heavily in upgrades during the offseason. Parnell and Sean Green each gave up one run.

Mets starter John Maine allowed homers to two of the first five batters he faced, and those were the only hits he gave up before leaving for a pinch hitter after five innings.

Florida starter Anibal Sanchez threw 93 pitches in five scoreless innings.

“He pitched good enough to get the win,” Gonzalez said. “Hopefully he gets about 31 more starts like that.”

Padres 7, Giants 3

At San Diego, Scott Hairston hit a three-run homer and made a leaping catch against the wall, Brian Giles drove in two runs and the Padres jumped on Barry Zito early in a rare, rain-delayed game here.

It’s the first time the Padres (3-2) are above .500 since they were 8-7 last April 16.

Shawn Hill (1-0) won his Padres debut while Zito (0-1) lasted only four innings.

Braves 6, Nationals 5, 10 innings

At Atlanta, Kelly Johnson’s 10th-inning single off Joe Beimel (0-1) drove in Jordan Schafer with the winning run and the Braves recovered after blowing two leads in a rain-delayed game.

Including the rain delay of 2 hours, 2 minutes, the game lasted almost 6 hours.

Jorge Campillo (1-0), Atlanta’s eighth pitcher, earned the win.

Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 4

At Phoenix, Chris Young went 3-for-3 with a home run and Jon Garland (1-0) won his National League debut for the Diamondbacks, getting help from a five-run third inning.

James McDonald (0-1) had control problems for the Dodgers and lasted just 2 1-3 innings in his first major league start.

Cardinals 5, Astros 3

At St. Louis, Ryan Ludwick homered and drove in two runs, Skip Schumaker had three hits and the Cardinals survived another shaky ninth inning to give Joel Pineiro (1-0) the win.

Kyle McClellan got the final two outs for his second career save.

Mike Hampton (0-1), making his first regular-season appearance as an Astro since October 1999, gave up three runs on four hits and four walks in five innings.

Brewers 4, Cubs 3

At Milwaukee, Ryan Braun’s grounder to shortstop scored Rickie Weeks on a close play at the plate, and the Brewers rallied for two runs in the ninth off Cubs closer Kevin Gregg (0-1).

Carlos Villanueva (1-0) worked a hitless inning for the win.

Rockies 10, Phillies 3

At Denver, Jason Marquis (1-0) pitched seven strong innings in his Rockies debut before a crowd of 49,427, the highest paid attendance in a regular-season game at Coors Field.

Cole Hamels (0-1) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in 3 2-3 innings for Philadelphia.

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