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Florida trails Philly by just half a game

8/24/2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Manager Jack McKeon's lineup changes were
made in desperation. Felipe Alou shuffled his players out of sad
necessity.

The Florida Marlins immediately responded to McKeon's moves, but
the San Francisco Giants might need a bit longer to get used to
their changes.

Miguel Cabrera and Derrek Lee homered and drove in three runs
apiece and Carl Pavano pitched seven solid innings as the Marlins
snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-4 victory Sunday over
the Giants.

San Francisco was a bit listless in its second straight game
without major league home run leader Barry Bonds, who was placed on
the bereavement list after his father died a day earlier. Bonds
will be away from the team indefinitely.

The NL West leaders held a brief team meeting before the game to
discuss the loss of Bonds, whose imposing presence in the lineup
probably will be missing for several more days. When Bonds left the
team for five days last week to be with his father, San Francisco
lost four straight.

"We'll do the best we can," Alou said. "Mentally, these guys
know they can win a game without Barry. Hopefully we can win a
couple more before he comes back."

Kirk Rueter (7-4) was roughed up in his return from the disabled
list as the Giants lost for just the fourth time in 25 home games.

The Marlins handed the NL West-leading Giants their only loss of
a six-game homestand. With its first win over San Francisco in six
tries this season, Florida also closed within a half-game of
Philadelphia in the wild-card race.

McKeon rested his two most dependable hitters -- Mike Lowell and
Ivan Rodriguez -- and shuffled the order, with Lee taking the
cleanup spot and Cabrera hitting fifth. Lee scored three runs, and
Cabrera went 3-for-4.

"We got good pitching and timely hitting today, which we hadn't
seen for five days," McKeon said. "We need our big guys to step
up, and they came through at the right time. We've lost five out of
six this week, but we haven't lost any ground, so I'm thankful for
that."

Pavano (10-11) allowed seven hits and struck out four,
recovering nicely from a lousy start at Colorado on Tuesday. It
was the fourth win in seven starts for the steady right-hander, who
got just his third victory in 12 road outings this season.

"It was a huge win," Pavano said. "I threw strikes, and the
guys made the plays behind me. Even without Barry Bonds, you can't
take that team lightly."

Cabrera's two-run homer highlighted a fourth-inning rally by the
Marlins, who also scored when Lee singled home Luis Castillo. They
added two more in the sixth on consecutive RBI singles by Cabrera
and Alex Gonzalez.

Lee homered in the seventh against reliever Scott Eyre.

"I had a lot of family and friends here, so there was some
extra motivation," said Lee, a Northern California native.

Jeffrey Hammonds, replacing Bonds in left field, went 2-for-4
with two doubles. He also made spectacular catches on consecutive
drives in the fourth, preventing the Marlins' three-run inning from
being much bigger.

Hammonds got a standing ovation from the sellout crowd.

"They appreciate baseball out here," Hammonds said. "I've
just got to go out there and do my best for as long as I have to. I
don't have a choice."

Rueter hadn't pitched since July 25 with a shoulder injury, and
he wasn't sharp. He allowed six hits, five runs and a handful of
screaming line drives that were snared by the Giants' outfielders
and shortstop Rich Aurilia.

Rookie Todd Linden got his first career RBI for San Francisco,
and Edgardo Alfonzo drove in two runs.

Game notes
Giants 2B Ray Durham won't be activated from the disabled
list before San Francisco's road game at Colorado on Tuesday.
Durham has been out for two weeks with a nagging groin injury.
"He's kind of stuck at about 85 percent, and we're not going to
put him out there until he's closer to 100," Giants trainer Stan
Conte said. ... The Marlins won for just the fourth time in their
last 21 games in San Francisco. ... The Giants had their 34th
consecutive sellout at Pacific Bell Park. ... Florida improved to
19-9 against left-handed starters this season, including five
straight victories. ... In the seventh inning, a fan in the
outfield bleachers reached onto the field and got a glove on
Hammonds' line drive to the left-center wall. The fan dropped the
ball, turning a possible triple into a ground-rule double -- and
another fan, sitting two rows behind, got up and lectured the first
fan on outfield etiquette.