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Willis wins Pitcher, Rookie of Month
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07/02/2003  5:24 PM ET 
Willis wins Pitcher, Rookie of Month
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MIAMI -- Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis racked up the wins in June, going 5-0 with a 1.04 ERA.

Now the 21-year-old sensation is piling up the awards.

On Wednesday, Willis swept the Pepsi National League Pitcher and Rookie of the Month honors for June.

    Dontrelle Willis   /   P
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 200
Bats/Throws: L/L

More info:
Player page
Stats
Splits
Marlins site

Willis became the first player ever to win both awards in the same month since the Rookie of the Month award was instituted in 2001.

"He should be on the All-Star team," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "Win or lose [his next few starts], he should be on the All-Star team. He's pretty polished."

Willis becomes the first rookie pitcher to win NL Pitcher of the Month since Los Angeles' Hideo Nomo did it in June of 1995.

Willis, who pitched Wednesday night, entered the game against Atlanta riding a seven-game winning streak.

At 8-1 (2.26), the left-hander is gaining recognition as a Rookie of the Year candidate. He's been on an incredible roll, being named NL Co-Player of the Week with Arizona reliever Jose Valverde for June 16-22.

Willis' highlight for the month was tossing a complete-game one-hitter in a 1-0 win over the Mets on June 16. He followed that up with a two-hit shutout against Tampa Bay in a game called after five innings because of rain.

"He deserves it," Marlins pitching coach Wayne Rosenthal said. "Nobody else pitched as well as he did, as far as stats and dominating games. There is no reason why he shouldn't get it."

In 34 2/3 innings in June, Willis gave up four earned runs and had three starts without surrendering a run. He struck out 28 and walked eight.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Willis is the first rookie since Jason Isringhausen in 1995 to win seven straight starts.

The Marlins called up the left-hander from Double-A Carolina on May 9 after three starters were placed on the disabled list.

"He's concentrating more," Rosenthal said. "He knows it's not going to be easy. He's told me that many times. He's working harder to keep his stuff, and doing what he needs to do to get people out up here."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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