Marlins 3, Expos 2

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MIAMI (AP)—The Florida Marlins couldn’t have picked a better time to break out of their slump.

The Marlins scored their first run in 25 innings in the eighth and added two more in the ninth as Florida rallied for a 3-2 win over the Montreal Expos on Friday night.

Pinch-hitter Brian Banks’ run-scoring single with one out in the bottom of the ninth gave the Marlins their second win in 10 games and 16th walkoff victory of the season.

The Marlins had runners on first and second when Banks hit a 2-2 pitch off reliever Rocky Biddle over the head of right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, scoring Derrek Lee.

“It was just a situation where you hope it will carry far enough into the gap,” Banks said. “Off the bat I thought it would but then you have to think about who’s out there. I know Vladi can go out and get it. When I saw it carry over his head I started celebrating immediately.”

Trailing 2-1, the Marlins had runners on second and third with one out. They scored the tying run when Expos third baseman Jamey Carroll, who had just entered the game for defensive purposes, bobbled a hard-hit grounder by Alex Gonzalez. Carroll threw home but Juan Encarnacion slid under the tag. Carroll was not charged with an error.

“I put Jamey in for defensive purposes,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “He’s a little quicker on the slow rollers and has a stronger arm. I don’t second guess that move. It was a tough loss.”

Braden Looper (5-3) got the win for Florida, who remained tied for the NL wild-card lead. Montreal fell a game back in the tight race.

Biddle(4-8) failed for his seventh blown save this season for Montreal, which lost for the first time in six games.

“I wasn’t aggressive enough in the strike zone,” Biddle said. “I was trying to pick too much, looking for the perfect pitch instead of trusting my stuff.”

T.J. Tucker pitched six scoreless innings for the Expos, striking out three and scattering five hits.

“I did my job and kept them in the ballgame,” said Tucker, who watched the Marlins ninth inning rally from the clubhouse. “I can’t control that. We took a bad loss tonight. We have to come back. Stuff happens. It’s baseball.”

Brad Wilkerson led off the game with a homer, a 428-foot shot to center field.

“We had the game under control and had the momentum and they just battled back,” Wilkerson said. “Mistakes killed us. This is tough to deal with. We had it right there.”

Montreal went ahead 2-0 in the third inning. Wilkerson walked, went to third on a double by Orlando Cabrera and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Vidro. Cabrera had three of the Expos six hits.

Florida scored a run in the eighth inning when Juan Pierre scored from third on a ground out by Ivan Rodriguez.

“We knew it would break sooner or later,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said of the scoreless streak. “It couldn’t happen in a better way. This was a big win to get the monkey off our backs. We needed a lift like this, no question about it.”

Josh Beckett pitched seven innings for Florida and gave up five hits and struck out seven.

“We needed to win one to put us back on track,” Beckett said. “There’s no better way to win. You don’t want to win them all like this but it’s somethingwe needed tonight.”

Notes:@ Wilkerson’s leadoff home run was the third of his career and the third for the Expos this season. Endy Chavez had the other two and Wilkerson had two last season. … Expos starters have allowed two earned runs or fewer in 19 of their past 28 games. … Luis Castillo extended his hitting streak to 13 games. … The Marlins allowed fans to bring their dogs to Friday’s game as the Bark at the Park promotion. Tickets for dogs were $5 with proceeds benefiting the Humane Society and 250 dogs attended the game. … The Expos purchased the contract of right-hander Chad Cordero from Class-A Brevard County, Fla., and optioned right-hander Roy Corcoran to Triple-A Edmonton. Montreal also transferred third baseman Fernando Tatis from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list.

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