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Marlins complete eighth series sweep this year

8/17/2003

MIAMI (AP) -- Josh Beckett is already looking toward the
playoffs.

Beckett allowed two runs in a career-best eight innings, and
Derrek Lee homered as the Florida Marlins defeated the San Diego
Padres 11-7 Sunday.

Ivan Rodriguez and Luis Castillo had two RBI apiece for the
Marlins, who remained a half-game behind Philadelphia in the NL
wild-card race. The Phillies beat St. Louis 6-4 on Sunday night.

Beckett (6-6) allowed five hits, two walks and struck out eight
-- sending San Diego to its fifth straight loss. He also had two of
Florida's 15 hits, including a double.

"Pitching wins in the playoffs and no one is as deep as we
are," Beckett said. "Once we get to the playoffs we're as good as
anybody."

Beckett missed about seven weeks this season due to a right
elbow strain.

"This is the best I've seen him pitch," Marlins manager Jack
McKeon said. "He was in command the entire way. We want him to
step up from here with our other pitchers who have nine, 10 and 11
wins. He just needed some games under his belt."

Juan Pierre scored three times for the Marlins, who completed a
three-game sweep for their eighth series sweep this season and
sixth at home. Lee and Mike Mordecai also drove in two runs each.

"It feels good to close out the series," Pierre said. "We
have all 25 guys pulling for each other. Everything seems to be
going right for us right now."

The Padres rallied for five runs in the ninth off Nate Bump on
Gary Bennett's two-run double, Lou Merloni's sacrifice fly and Phil
Nevin's two-run single.

Michael Tejera came on and retired Ryan Klesko with two on for
his second save.

"When you've got a nine-run lead you don't worry too much,"
McKeon said. "If they had got the tying run up there it's time to
worry. The big thing is we got it over."

San Diego starter Adam Eaton (7-9) allowed four runs on seven
hits in 3 1-3 innings. The Padres were outscored 27-10 in the
series.

"My pitch location was awful," Eaton said. "I wasn't able to
make adjustments. It was my worst location day ever."

Florida scored four runs on three extra-base hits in the fifth
off reliever Joe Roa. Miguel Cabrera led off with a double, then
scored on a throwing error by first baseman Klesko. Castillo and
Rodriguez each hit an RBI triple to give the Marlins an 8-0 lead.

"We played some horrible baseball today," Padres manager Bruce
Bochy said. "We let the game get out of hand. Their guy had good
stuff. We showed a lot of fight at the end, but that's not good
enough."

The Padres got a two-run double from pinch-hitter Rondell White
in the eighth.

The Marlins chased Eaton in the fourth. Beckett led off with a
double and scored on a single by Pierre. Rodriguez's double scored
Pierre to make it 4-0.

Lee's 23rd home run in the third gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead.
Eaton has allowed six home runs in his last four starts.

Florida scored in the first inning. Pierre led off with a bunt
single, and Castillo's double put runners on second and third.
Pierre scored on an RBI groundout by Mike Lowell.

The Marlins added three runs in the eighth on an RBI single by
Lee and Mordecai's two-run double off Jaret Wright.

Game notes
The Padres have lost nine of their past 12 games. ... Mark
Kotsay lost his bat after swinging at Beckett's pitch in the third
inning. The bat went three rows into the stands behind the Marlins'
dugout but didn't hit anybody. ... Cabrera has a nine-game hitting
streak. ... Lee lost his bat after swinging in the third. It landed
in the Padres' dugout. ... Lee's home run gave him 286 extra-base
hits with Florida, tying him with Cliff Floyd for the franchise
record.