Marlins 7, Cubs 0

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CHICAGO (AP)—Carl Pavano got his 17th victory with a seven-hit shutout Friday, helping the Florida Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 7-0 in first game of a doubleheader—their first meeting since Game 7 of last year’s NLCS.

Eleven months ago, the Marlins marched into Wrigley Field and won the final two games to earn a trip to the World Series, rallying with eight eighth-inning runs in a stunning Game 6 victory in which the Cubs become unglued.

The 2004 Cubs, who have lost 7 of 10, committed three errors Friday and heard an earful of boos when another fly ball dropped between two outfielders.

And the Marlins, who’ve won 18 of 24, rocked Kerry Wood (7-7) for 11 hits and six runs, four earned, in six innings.

The Cubs started the day a half game behind Houston and San Francisco in the wild card race with the Marlins two back.

The doubleheader served as makeup of one game of a three-game set that was wiped out by Hurricane Frances last weekend in Miami. After playing Saturday and Sunday at Wrigley Field, the teams must also play a twinbill Sept. 20.

And once they leave Chicago’s north side, the Marlins aren’t going too far— about eight miles across town where they will play the Montreal Expos on Monday and Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field, a move made because of Hurricane Ivan.

Pavano (17-5), who started Game 6 of the NLCS, won his fifth straight start and pitched his second shutout of the season. He struck out Sammy Sosa with runners on second and third to end it. He struck out six in total and did not walk a batter.

The Cubs were shut out for the second straight game. They were blanked by Montreal’s Scott Downs on Wednesday.

Pavano singled to start the second and then Cubs’ third baseman Ramon Martinez made back-to-back throwing errors on sacrifice bunts, loading the bases before Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run single.

The Cubs’ shoddy fielding continued in the sixth and the boos began to come down as Florida scored four.

After back-to-back doubles by Juan Encarnacion and Alex Gonzalez and a walk, Paul Lo Duca’s high fly fell between Sammy Sosa and Corey Patterson for a two-run single, making it 5-0 before Cabrera delivered another run-scoring single. Pavano hit a two-out RBI double off Jon Leicester in the seventh.

The Marlins lost a home game when last weekend’s series with the Cubs was washed out and now they’re losing at least two more against the Expos. A decision will be made Monday when and where the final three games against Montreal will be played.

It’s just the latest inconvenience for the defending World Series champions. But no griping.

“How many clubs in baseball would love to be in our position with 24 days to go and 27 games?” manager Jack McKeon said.

“Everybody wants to stay it’s a burden. Sure, it’s tough. But we don’t look at it that way, we look at it as an opportunity to cash in. If we do, great. If we don’t, we gave it our best shot.”

Notes

Former Cubs star Andre Dawson, now a special assistant with the Marlins, led the singing at the seventh-inning stretch. And when he tried to throw his Cubs cap into the crowd, it got stuck on a beam below the overhang of the stadium room.

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