Expos 7, Marlins 2

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MONTREAL (AP)—The Montreal Expos are winning just about everything except more fans.

Ron Calloway drove in two runs with one of Montreal’s six doubles to help lead the Expos to their best start ever with a 7-2 win over the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night.

Just 5,282 fans were on hand as Montreal improved to 29-17, the franchise’s best record through 46 games in its 35-year history.

“They’re missing a lot, but I just feel happy for the 6,000 that come every night and watch us play because they’re making noise out there and they support us,” second baseman Jose Vidro said.

Vidro hit a pair of RBI singles as the Expos improved to 10-4 at Olympic Stadium.

Montreal has won seven of nine overall to move to within two games of NL East-leading Atlanta.

“It doesn’t mean a thing unless you keep it going,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said.

Rookie Claudio Vargas (2-1) won his second straight decision and Montreal hit six doubles for the second game in a row.

Calloway’s double off Carl Pavano (3-5) capped a three-run fourth inning as the Expos overcame an early 2-0 deficit.

Vargas, acquired from Florida along with Cliff Floyd last July 11 in the deal that sent Pavano to the Marlins, allowed six hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings.

“I feel good because I pitched good today again and I got the win, and I pitched against my old team, too.”

Montreal scored twice in the fifth on Orlando Cabrera’s RBI double and Jose Vidro’s second straight run-scoring single.

The Expos added two more runs in the seventh on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly and Vladimir Guerrero’s RBI double.

Alex Gonzalez hit his ninth homer for Florida, which lost its fifth in a row and fell to 3-6 under new manager Jack McKeon. He replaced Jeff Torborg on May 11 after the Marlins got off to a 16-22 start.

“It’s tough,” McKeon said. “We’re back to scoring runs. They’ll eventually break out of it, it’s just a matter of when. Five games and 10 runs—we’ve got to score more to win.”

Marlins first baseman Derrek Lee sustained a bruised right wrist when he was hit by a pitch following Mike Lowell’s sacrifice fly in the first. Lee remained in the game and struck out in the fourth before he was replaced by pinch-hitter Brian Banks in the sixth.

“It’s sore now but hopefully the swelling goes down and I’ll be able to play tomorrow,” said Lee, who played his 256th consecutive game—51 short of Jeff Conine’s team record 307-game streak.

Pavano retired the first nine batters he faced and Gonzalez hit a two-out homer in the fourth to stake him to a two-run lead.

Endy Chavez lined a double to left-center to lead off the Expos fourth. He advanced to third on Cabrera’s sacrifice and scored when Vidro lined an RBI single to left to draw Montreal within 2-1.

Pavano struck out Guerrero before Wil Cordero beat out an infield single to keep the inning going.

Calloway doubled for the Expos’ fourth hit of the inning to put Montreal ahead 3-2.

Pavano allowed seven hits and five runs in six innings.

Notes

Marlins LF Todd Hollandsworth was out of the lineup because of tightness in his right hamstring. Hollandsworth, who is not expected start Thursday, left Tuesday’s 6-4 loss shortly after he aggravated the injury when he was caught in a rundown in the second inning. He is day-to-day. … Expos 3B Fernando Tatis missed his third straight start because of a strained left groin, and C Michael Barrett (bruised right index finger) and LF Brad Wilkerson (right eye infection) each missed their second game in a row. … Montreal alsostarted 28-17 in 1979 and 1996 before losing its 46th game both times.

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