MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Expos have had such little fan
support for so long that nobody seems surprised so few people are
coming out to Olympic Stadium to say goodbye.
Josh Beckett pitched seven strong innings and Miguel Cabrera hit
his 31st homer, leading the Florida Marlins to a 4-1 win Monday
night. Only 3,923 fans were on hand for the opener of what is
likely the Expos' final series in Montreal."I don't think anybody pays attention," Marlins manager Jack
McKeon said. "It's been going on for three or four years. You'd
like to see more. I don't think it bothers the players, though,
because they're used to that."The team is expected to be relocated, likely to Washington,
D.C., for the 2005 season."I think that's in the back of a lot of fans' minds, whether
they want to come support the team or not," Expos starter John
Patterson said. "We respect the ones that want to come out and
watch us play, but I don't think we were expecting more than
that."Beckett (8-9), last year's World Series MVP, scattered four hits
for his first win in four starts. Florida, which was eliminated
from playoff contention one day earlier, ended a season-high
six-game losing streak."It feels good to win one, that's the big thing," McKeon said.
"I didn't think it was ever going to happen."Beckett had eight strikeouts, including six through the first
three innings while holding Montreal to one hit. He allowed two
walks."It's good to get any win right now," said Beckett, who will
leave the team Tuesday to go home to Texas for his grandmother's
funeral.Guillermo Mota pitched the eighth, and Armando Benitez got three
straight outs for his 45th save in 49 opportunities.Cabrera hit a solo shot off Patterson (4-6) in the fourth.
Florida added two more runs later in the inning on Lenny Harris'
sacrifice fly and Luis Castillo's RBI single.Patterson was charged with an error after his pickoff throw to
first following Castillo's single sailed about five rows into the
stands behind the Expos dugout.The Expos scored in the bottom half to draw to 3-1 on Juan
Rivera's RBI grounder.Paul Lo Duca hit an RBI double in the fifth to restore the
Marlins' three-run lead.Patterson allowed nine hits and four runs in six innings."The first three innings he was getting ahead of hitters and
finishing them off, a nice clean slate, and then all of a sudden he
started missing and picking and got himself in trouble," Expos
manager Frank Robinson said. "They scored off of him and that was
There was a significant increase in media coverage,
including several national baseball writers. ... Beckett was
soundly booed after he backpedaled away from 1B Brad Wilkerson to
avoid being tagged following his sacrifice bunt in the third.
Wilkerson looked bewildered as he walked haltingly toward Beckett
while keeping an eye on Alex Gonzalez at second base. Beckett, who
had almost returned to the plate, actually leaned toward Wilkerson
to facilitate the tag. ... Patterson, who made his 18th start, has
allowed 17 homers in 94 innings.