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Castillo Reaches Another Milestone

Baseball: In extending his hitting streak to 35 games, he breaks the record for Latin players. Marlins defeat Tigers, 4-1.

June 22, 2002|From Associated Press

MIAMI — The Florida Marlins' fax machine rang only minutes after the game ended. It was a congratulatory note from Benito Santiago, commending Luis Castillo on his latest accomplishment.

Castillo extended his hitting streak to 35 games, tying Ty Cobb and two others for the 10th-longest in major league history, as the Marlins defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-1, Friday night.

The streak also is the longest by a Latin player, surpassing Santiago's 34-game streak in 1987.

"I feel good because that record is important to me," said Castillo, a Dominican. "I want it to keep going."

Leading off the third inning, Castillo drilled a 2-0 fastball back at knuckleballer Steve Sparks.

"I wasn't getting the knuckleball over, so I had to go with the fastball," Sparks said. "It's making so many headlines and getting so much attention; you want to be the guy who stops it, but a lot of pitchers have been saying that for the last couple of weeks. That's what makes it so incredible."

The ball ricocheted off Sparks' glove and rolled toward second base. There was no throw.

"I got a piece of it," Sparks said. "It felt like my glove turned with it. I thought it would be closer to me. Obviously, with his speed it was going to be tough to get him out anyway."

It was Castillo's 18th infield single during the streak. Florida's switch-hitting second baseman also singled and scored in the fifth, giving him 17 multihit games during the span.

Castillo already owns the longest streak by a second baseman, eclipsing Rogers Hornsby's 33-game streak in 1922.

Two other players had one-season streaks of 35 games--Cobb (1917) and Fred Clarke (1895). George Sisler also had a 35-game hitting streak, but it spanned two seasons (1924-25).

Only nine players have had a longer streak, including two since 1950--Pete Rose (44) in 1978 and Paul Molitor (39) in 1987. Joe DiMaggio set the record of 56 games in 1941.

Castillo got a standing ovation after his hit, and the baseball was taken out of play to commemorate the Latin record.

"I see the ball very good," Castillo said. "I never feel like that before."

Michael Tejera (2-1) gave up two hits and a run in seven innings, helping the Marlins win their fourth in a row. Tejera gave up a second-inning home run to Brandon Inge but was almost flawless the rest of the way. He retired seven of the last eight batters he faced.

Braden Looper pitched a perfect eighth, and Vladimir Nunez picked up his 17th save in 21 chances.

The Marlins evened the score in the second on Charles Johnson's RBI single. They made it 3-1 with a pair of runs in the fifth. Castillo scored on Mike Lowell's double, then Lowell came home on Derrek Lee's double.

The Marlins tied a season high with six doubles.

Florida scored its last run in the seventh. Eric Owens singled, stole second and later scored on Cliff Floyd's base hit that also sent Sparks (3-7) to the bench.

Sparks gave up 11 hits and four runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Castillo finished two for four and improved to six for 12 against knuckleball pitchers. He is four for eight against Boston's Tim Wakefield.

"There's not much more he can do for us," Marlin manager Jeff Torborg said.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

*--* Streakers A look at the longest consecutive-game hitting streaks in baseball history (*-active): Player, Team (League) Year No Joe DiMaggio, New York (A) 1941 56 Willie Keeler, Baltimore (N) 1897 44 Pete Rose, Cincinnati (N) 1978 44 Bill Dahlen, Chicago (N) 1894 42 George Sisler, St. Louis (A) 1922 41 Ty Cobb, Detroit (A) 1911 40 Paul Molitor, Milwaukee (A) 1987 39 Tommy Holmes, Boston (N) 1945 37 Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia (N) 1894 36 Fred Clarke, Louisville (N) 1895 35 Ty Cobb, Detroit (A) 1917 35 Luis Castillo, Florida (N) * 2002 35

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