Miami (8-1) at Atlanta (4-5)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Apr 16, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Florida Marlins are turning pitching into an art form.

The Marlins will look to continue their incredible shutout streak when they travel to Atlanta for the opener of a three-game series with the Braves.

Carl Pavano and a pair of relievers combined to blank the Montreal Expos 3-0 Thursday, extending the Marlins’ scoreless string to a team-record 30 innings.

“I wasn’t going to be the one to go out there and mess up our rhythm,” Pavano said.

The World Series champions shut out the Expos in all three games of the series and have a stellar 1.22 team ERA.

The last time a team swept a three-game series with shutouts was 1995, when Baltimore did it against Detroit.

Pavano recalled riding on the team bus after Wednesday’s 9-0 win and getting razzed by Brad Penny, who threw eight scoreless innings in the opening game of the series in Puerto Rico.

“Penny told me yesterday, ‘No pressure, 23 scoreless innings,”’ kidded Pavano.

Pavano gave up three hits in seven innings, and Chad Fox and Armando Benitez finished up. The previous shutout record for the Marlins was 27 innings, compiled in four games between July 29-Aug. 1, 1997.

Darren Oliver, who gets the start Friday in Atlanta, said he does not want to be the guy to allow a run.

“I hope I can keep it going. We’re just hot right now,” Oliver said.

Manager Jack McKeon said his pitching staff is making a good case to be considered among the best in baseball.

“This staff is underrated,” McKeon said. “As far as maturing and reaching a new level, these guys are fast becoming one of the better staffs in baseball.”

The Braves, who have split their last six games, are coming off a 4-0 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday.

Though the Braves have hit just five home runs in nine games and are batting a mediocre .256, they think they need to remind the Marlins they are the ones who have won 12 straight division titles.

“We need to chop them down,” Braves closer John Smoltz said. “We need to beat the teams that are hot.”

However, Braves third baseman Mark DeRosa said the Marlins wear their World Series championship well.

“They’ve just got that air about them now,” DeRosa said. “They have a little bit of arrogance about them and they have a right to be that way. They’re running guys out there every day that throw in the mid 90s and their lineup flows nice.”

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Starting Pitchers

D. Oliver Tor vs. J. Wright Pit
3-3 Record 15-8
5.94 ERA 3.28
46 K 159
21 BB 70
1.49 WHIP 1.28