Expos 6, Marlins 2, 1st game; Expos 10, Marlins 4, 2nd game
“We’ve battled through a lot of adversity these past two or three weeks, this is just a little bump in the road,” manager Jack McKeon said after Florida was swept by the Expos 6-2 and 10-4 to fall 3 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the NL wild-card race.
“We just have to get this engine fired up again and click on all cylinders again,” McKeon added.
Tony Batista and Val Pascucci hit three-run homers for the Expos in the second game. Brad Wilkerson hit his ninth leadoff homer in the opener, which featured Montreal’s Brian Schneider getting picked off by Mike Lowell’s hidden ball trick.
The teams resumed their five-game series in Florida after the Marlins won the first two games at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Those games were moved because of the threat of Hurricane Ivan.
The Expos jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Nate Bump (2-4) in the first inning of the second game. Ryan Church, who hit his first career home run in the first game, had an RBI single before Pascucci hit his first career homer.
“Pascucci’s ball was a hard-hit ball, and it cost us pretty big,” Bump said. “After that, I knew we still had a chance with our offense and I tried to keep us in it.”
Batista’s three-run homer came during a five-run fourth, in which the Expos batted around and built a 9-3 lead. Montreal had 27 hits in the doubleheader to become the first team to sweep the Marlins in Florida.
“It’s very satisfying to come back here and win a doubleheader,” said Montreal’s Jamey Carroll, who had four hits in the nightcap. “We have a lot of pride and still want to win as many games as possible.”
Brendan Harris became the third Expos player to hit his first career homer Wednesday when he led off the eighth inning. The Elias Sports Bureau said it was the first time three teammates hit their first career homers on the same day since April 28, 1946, when New York Giants’ Bill Rigney, Buddy Blattner and Jess Pike homered during a doubleheader against Brooklyn.
In the first game, Florida starter Carl Pavano (17-6) was trying to become the National League’s first 18-game winner.
“It’s nice to beat him because he’s been very tough on us,” said Montreal manager Frank Robinson, whose team is 2-5 overall against Pavano.
John Patterson (4-5) gave up two runs and six hits in eight innings in the first game. He struck out seven in his longest outing of the season for the Expos, who snapped a five-game losing streak.
The right-hander failed to work at least four innings in three of his previous five starts. His longest outing of the season had been seven innings against the Mets on April 10.
“It felt good—I wasn’t tired, I was kind of high on life,” Patterson said.
Pavano had his five-start winning streak snapped by his former team, allowing four runs—three earned—and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings. He balked in Montreal’s fourth run with two outs in the seventh.
“The guy has pitched super all year long,” McKeon said. “He didn’t do a bad job today. We didn’t score any runs.”
Lowell successfully completed the hidden ball trick to help the Marlins escape a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fourth with Wilkerson due up.
Following Schneider’s RBI double and an intentional walk to Maicer Izturis, Patterson singled to left to load the bases. After Schneider stopped at third, Lowell faked a throw to Pavano. When the Expos’ runner left third base, and before Pavano stepped on the mound, Lowell tagged Schneider for the final out.
Wilkerson led off the first game with his 29th home run, a 422-foot shot to right-center.
Florida had been 4-0-6 in doubleheaders at Pro Player Stadium. It also was the first time the Marlins were swept overall since June 28, 2001, at Philadelphia. … The first game began before a crowd of about 1,500 fans. The announced attendance for the doubleheader was 12,608. The teams drew 4,003 and 5,457, respectively, for their two games in Chicago earlier in the week. … Florida RHP A.J. Burnett will miss his scheduled start Friday night against Atlanta because of elbow inflammation. McKeon said he expects Burnett to miss only one start. … Church left the second game in the fourth inning due to muscle cramps.