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McKeon Gets Started With a Win

May 12, 2003|From Associated Press

The Florida Marlins made Jack McKeon a winner in his first game as their manager Sunday when they beat the Colorado Rockies, 7-2, at Miami.

The Marlins improved to 6-1 (.857) when playing their first game under a new manager. In all other games they are 717-868 (.452).

"I'm like a kid with a new toy," the 72-year-old McKeon said. "I felt good about today. I felt I had a tremendous rapport with the guys."

Jeff Torborg was fired Saturday after a 5-4 loss to the Rockies and replaced by McKeon, who has managed four other teams.

"We'll go undefeated with him from now on," joked third baseman Mike Lowell, who hit his 10th home run.

McKeon barely had time to introduce himself to his players before the Marlins took the field, and he struggled to remember their names afterward. But for one day, at least, the change in managers had the desired effect.

Luis Castillo hit his 10th career homer in 2,897 at-bats and Carl Pavano (3-4) pitched seven innings. He gave up 12 hits but didn't walk anyone, stranded nine and gave up only two runs.

"The players get a mulligan and say, 'Here we go,' " Colorado Manager Clint Hurdle said. "But Pavano made more of a difference today than Jack McKeon, no disrespect to Jack. He got seven innings out of a starter."

McKeon also got good defense and timely hits -- elements too often missing under Torborg.

Castillo pulled a pitch from Brian Fuentes over the left-field scoreboard in the sixth for his second home run this season, tying a career high. Lowell had three hits. Juan Pierre singled, walked three times, stole three bases and tied a club record by scoring four times.

With two victories in three games, the Marlins won a series against the Rockies for the first time since May 18-20, 2001.

Perhaps a pregame pep talk from McKeon helped.

"The message was to have fun," he said. "I told them, 'I think you're trying too hard. Relax and have fun, and we'll win.' "

He was right, despite another big day by Colorado's Preston Wilson, playing against his former team for the first time. He had three hits in four at-bats with a run batted in and finished the series six for 11 with two homers and six RBIs.

Arizona 2, Pittsburgh 1 -- Lyle Overbay's tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning kept Miguel Batista unbeaten since moving into the starting rotation in place of injured Randy Johnson.

Overbay drove in both runs and the Diamondbacks won for the second time in the three-game series, and sent the Pirates to their eighth loss in nine games.

The Pirates' 5-13 home record is the NL's worst, and they have lost all six series at PNC Park.

The Pirates did little with Batista (3-2), who limited them to one run and five hits in six innings.

In his six starts since filling in for Johnson on April 16, Batista is 3-0 with three no-decisions and a 1.42 earned-run average.

Now the Diamondbacks hope Batista can stay in the rotation. The appeal of his 10-game suspension for fighting with the St. Louis' Tino Martinez will be heard today and, unless it is overturned or shortened, he might sit out a start.

Kip Wells (1-2), Pittsburgh's most consistent starting pitcher despite winning only once in eight starts, was hurt again by wildness. He gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings.

He walked Luis Gonzalez with two outs in the first, one of his 26 walks in 51 1/3 innings. Matt Williams followed with a ground single that Wells couldn't handle behind the mound and Overbay grounded a run-scoring single past second baseman Abraham Nunez.

Cincinnati 7, Milwaukee 5 -- Adam Dunn gave the Reds the lead with his bat and saved the game with his glove.

Dunn homered twice, drove in five runs and made a key diving catch at first base in the ninth inning to preserve the win for the Reds, who took two of three in the series to complete a 6-1 homestand.

Dunn, who had only six hits in his previous 33 at-bats (.182), had three hits. All three of the left-handed batter's hits came against left-hander Wayne Franklin (1-4). Dunn was batting .207 against lefties before the game.

New York 3, San Diego 2 -- A mistake decided the matchup of last-place teams played in a heavy mist and light rain at Shea Stadium.

Roger Cedeno lined a drive into the gap in right-center field in the eighth inning. The hit chased reliever Mike Matthews (1-1), and Luther Hackman relieved with one out.

With Joe McEwing at the plate, Hackman's 83-mph slider broke down and away, skipping to the backstop and allowing Cedeno to score without a play.

The victory gave the Mets a 194-193 lead over the Padres in the series that started when San Diego joined the NL in 1969.

Houston 10, Philadelphia 7 -- The Astros, who have won eight of their last 10, avoided a three-game sweep at Philadelphia.

The Astros broke it open in the third with four runs on only one hit. Vicente Padilla (3-5) issued three walks to load the bases but had a chance to get out of the jam when he got Gregg Zaun to bounce into a potential inning-ending double play.

Second baseman Tomas Perez, starting for Placido Polanco, threw the ball past shortstop Jimmy Rollins into left field for an error, allowing Orlando Merced and Lance Berkman to score.

St. Louis at Chicago -- The game at Wrigley Field was postponed because of rain in the top of the fifth inning, wiping out 20 runs and seven homers. It was called after a 64-minute delay with the Cardinals leading, 11-9.

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