PHILADELPHIA -- Randy Wolf's comeback started out shaky but ended successfully as the Phillies beat the Marlins 11-5 in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday.
Wolf went 4 1/3 innings in his first start since June 11, 2005, when he went on the disabled list and underwent Tommy John elbow surgery. The left-hander gave up three earned runs on three hits, while walking five and striking out four.
His day got off to a rocky start when it took 40 pitches to get out of the first. He walked three and allowed an RBI single to Josh Willingham, but he got Joe Borchard to fly out to right to escape further damage.
"The first inning, I was just missing the outside corner, but I was just being too fine and not being aggressive enough," Wolf said. "It was good to get that first inning out of the way and go back and pitch."
"He had kind of a long first inning; he's rusty," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He did pretty good, really, but his command was a little off."
Wolf ended the afternoon to a nice ovation after throwing 97 pitches. Just 52 were for strikes, but three of the five batters he walked were stranded, so the lack of control didn't hurt too badly.
The Phillies offense also got off to a slow start, but exploded in a big way later on.
After getting a hit for the first three innings against Marlins rookie Anibal Sanchez, the Phils got five in the bottom of the fourth, keyed by a Mike Lieberthal grand slam. Lieberthal drove in five on the day, also contributing an RBI single in the four-run fifth inning that knocked Sanchez from the game.
The young right-hander took the loss, giving up eight runs on four hits and six walks, three of which were issued to Ryan Howard, who walked in all five of his at-bats to tie a Phillies record.
Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 30 games with his fourth-inning leadoff double. Utley, who became the third Phillie to reach that plateau, added a triple the following inning.
Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.