Expos 9, Marlins 0

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MIAMI (AP)—Livan Hernandez sure likes pitching in Miami.

Hernandez pitched a three-hitter and Brad Wilkerson and Nick Johnson homered to help the Montreal Expos spoil Josh Beckett’s third return from the disabled list with a 9-0 win over the Florida Marlins on Friday night.

Hernandez (8-10), the World Series MVP for the Marlins in 1997, pitched his eighth complete game at Pro Player Stadium, the most in the history of the ballpark.

“Miami will always be my home,” Hernandez said. “I have a lot of friends and family here, and a lot of my friends are in that clubhouse over there.”

Beckett (4-6), who had been out since July 6 because of torn skin on his right middle finger, lasted only three-plus innings, allowing four runs on six hits, including Wilkerson’s two-run shot in the second.

Last season’s World Series MVP was making his third start since May 30. He’s been on the DL twice because of his finger problems and once because of a strained back muscle.

“It was another stepping stone,” Beckett said. “Better days are ahead. I got through three innings healthy, and I get to make my next start in six days. Everything was up, and you can’t do that in this league. I have to get the ball down.”

The Marlins, coming off a four-game sweep against the Phillies, announced afterward that they had completed a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Florida wound up sending starting pitcher Brad Penny, first baseman Hee Seop Choi and minor league left-hander Bill Murphy. In return, the Dodgers gave up reliever Guillermo Mota, outfielder Juan Encarnacion, catcher Paul Lo Duca and cash.

Choi, originally in the lineup, was scratched 20 minutes before the game and replaced by Easley. He and Penny were both gone by the end of the game, their lockers empty.

The Marlins played like a team that might have been distracted by rumors and trade talk, but Hernandez was virtually unhittable.

“The biggest distraction was the guy who was pitching against us,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “That was the only distraction we had. He’s a good pitcher. He’s one of the best in the league.”

Hernandez dominated his former team for the second time in less than a week, helping the Expos to their fourth straight win against the Marlins, including a three-game sweep July 23-25.

It was the 37th complete game of Hernandez’s career and he’s had a major league-high 19 since the start of the 2002 season.

“He should have more wins than he does, that’s for sure,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. “It doesn’t bother him, though. He’s been outstanding all year, and there have been only a few times when he didn’t have his best stuff.”

Hernandez went 3-for-4 at the plate with a two-run double in the eighth, and only allowed two hits by Jeff Conine and one to Damion Easley, all singles.

By the fifth inning and with the Expos up 6-0, every player in the lineup had a hit.

“We kept putting guys in position, and everybody in the lineup contributed,” Robinson said.

The Expos scored two runs in the first. Wilkerson led off with a walk and scored on Endy Chavez’s triple. Chavez scored on Johnson’s single to center.

Johnson hit a two-run homer in the fifth and had three RBIs.

Notes

Wilkerson has scored at least one run in the last 13 games that he has started, a team record. … Endy Chavez has hit safely in 12 of 13 games, with three triples in that span. … Conine extended his hitting streak to seven games. … In his last four starts, Beckett has not pitched more than four innings and has averaged 20.3 pitches per inning. … After losing three straight starts, Hernandez has won his last two, both against Florida. … Hernandez threw 109 pitches and lowered his ERA to 3.65.

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