Marlins 4, Expos 1

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MIAMI (AP)—Mike Lowell was back to dealing with issues he can handle, like driving in runs.

A day after returning from a weekend of medical examinations as part of a tumor scare, Lowell went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, leading the Florida Marlins to a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Expos on Monday night.

Lowell, who had surgery in 1999 for testicular cancer, felt soreness in his groin the last three weeks and doctors told him Friday that a golf ball-sized mass above his left femur might be a tumor.

But the following day, specialists in Gainesville, Fla., determined it was not a tumor or cancerous, and instead was fibrous dysplasia, a benign condition of the bone.

Lowell said getting into the batters box “felt like I was back in the normal world, not in the worries that I was in the last few days.”

In his first at-bat, Lowell singled home Juan Pierre. He also drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.

“He was a big lift to our ballclub, as soon as he walked in our clubhouse you could see it in the atmosphere and the attitude. It was completely upbeat,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “They were happy to see him, and as soon as he got that first hit, the guys in the dugout were hollering ‘Mike’s back, Mike’s back.”’

Josh Beckett (4-4) scattered seven singles over seven innings, striking out seven and walking one.

“They hit every groundball at somebody, what else can I say,” Beckett said.

A pair of hitting streaks ended for Expos players. Jose Vidro was 0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt to snap his 13-game string and Orlando Cabrera was 0-for-4 to end his 15-game streak.

Ugueth Urbina pitched a scoreless eighth for Florida. The Expos scored in the ninth on Brad Wilkerson’s triple and Wil Cordero’s groundout.

“The way we’re going, three runs down is like 10 runs,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “We’re getting shut down too many innings.”

Montreal starter Eric Knott (0-1) got off to a rocky start in the first inning when he gave up Lowell’s RBI single and then walked Juan Encarnacion to load the bases with one out.

Knott was visited by pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Tim Drew started to warm up in the bullpen. But Knott got Derrek Lee to line into double play to end the inning and did not permit another run until giving up three straight singles to start the sixth.

“I was a little excited in the first inning,” Knott said. “Then Randy came out and slowed me down a little bit.”

Pierre singled to open the sixth and Luis Castillo followed with a bunt single. The Expos appeared to be caught off-guard when Ivan Rodriguez took it upon himself to bunt for a single as Knott couldn’t pick up the ball near the third-base line.

“That was huge play, it caught them by surprise,” Lowell said. “It was a very team-oriented play and smart play, and he got a hit out of it, so he got a nice bonus out of it.

Knott admitted that the bunt was unexpected.

“I don’t remember giving up too many (bunt) hits to three-hole hitters,” he said.

With the bases loaded Lowell walked. Drew relieved and Encarnacion hit a sacrifice fly.

“It looked like for a while that we weren’t going to get much hitting, and finally we got break or two, two nice little bunts, and Mike with the RBI walk,” McKeon said.

Todd Hollandsworth pinch-hit for Beckett in the seventh inning and tripled.Pierre’s bloop single to center field made it 4-0.


Beckett’s last previous appearance was a one-inning appearance against the Expos before the All-Star break. … OF Vladimir Guerrero had two singles in his first game back from the disabled list. … Knott failed in his attempt to become the first Montreal left-handed starter to win a game since June 21,2001.

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