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Castillo Swinging in the Rain

Baseball: Shortened game doesn't stop hit streak, which reaches 34 in Marlins' 3-0 victory over Indians.

June 21, 2002|From Associated Press

MIAMI — Rain limited Luis Castillo to three at-bats, which was two more than he needed.

Castillo slashed a single in the first inning Thursday night and extended his hitting streak to 34 games, breaking Rogers Hornsby's record for a second baseman and tying Dom DiMaggio and three other players.

"That's what I want to do in my first at-bat, so I can feel loose," Castillo said.

He scored the first run to help the Florida Marlins defeat Cleveland, 3-0, in a game called in bottom of the sixth inning.

Castillo, who finished one for three, slapped a 2-2 pitch from Ryan Drese to left field--the 12th time he has had a hit in the first inning during the streak.

The start of the game was delayed 17 minutes by rain. There was another delay of one hour 42 minutes before the game was called at 11:02 p.m.

"If Luis didn't get a hit in the first inning, I guarantee we'd be here until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning so he could get a hit," Marlin third base coach Ozzie Guillen said.

Castillo, a Dominican, matched Benito Santiago's record for the longest hitting streak by a player born outside the United States and surpassed Hornsby's 33-game streak in 1922.

Four other players had one-season streaks of 34 games--DiMaggio (1949), Santiago (1987), George McQuinn (1934) and George Sisler (1925). Only 10 players have had a longer streak, including two since 1950--Pete Rose (44) in 1978 and Paul Molitor (39) in 1987.

"When I'm finished, I'll feel good for what I did," Castillo said.

The switch-hitting leadoff man said he might bat right-handed today when he faces knuckleballs from Detroit right-hander Steve Sparks.

Announced attendance was 8,045, and there were perhaps 5,000 fans actually on hand, some wearing rain slickers. Many gave Castillo a standing ovation when he drove a single past third baseman Travis Fryman.

The crowd included Castillo's 9-year-old nephew, Carlos. Castillo brought the youngster, a Little League second baseman, to his first Marlins' game.

"I said, 'You want to see me play? You can see me today,' " Castillo said.

While the stands were mostly empty, there was at least one sign of the buzz building around the streak: The Marlins arranged a postgame news conference for Castillo for the first time.

"Every day I have a little more pressure," he said.

Florida completed a three-game sweep of the Indians in the first meeting between the teams since the 1997 World Series, which the Marlins also won.

A.J. Burnett (8-5) gave up two hits in six innings, extending his shutout streak to 18 consecutive innings. He improved to 6-0 in interleague play with a 2.73 earned-run average.

Marlins starters have given up only one run in the last 38 innings.

Florida's Mike Lowell hit his 10th home run, and Preston Wilson scored from second base on a sacrifice bunt.

Drese (7-5), hit twice by batted balls, gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings. He struck out eight.

The Indians stopped Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak in 1941, but in three games they couldn't stop Castillo. He's hitting .400 during the streak and .338 this season.

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*--* Hit Parade Longest hitting streaks since the New York Yankees' Joe DiMaggio had a record 56-game streak in 1941: Year Player G 1978 Pete Rose 44 1987 Paul Molitor 39 1945 Tommy Holmes 37 1949 Dom DiMaggio 34 1987 Benito Santiago 34 2002 Luis Castillo 34

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